New in western NC

kiltedchicken

Hatching
9 Years
Mar 10, 2010
2
0
7
Western NC
Hello, group! My family is fairly new to raising chickens, and while I have checked in with this forum once or twice to research a few things, I just decided to register today.

We live in the mountains of Western NC. We have about an acre of yard, and are currently raising 7 chickens (6 hens, 1 rooster). We got them last fall as chicks, so we are still fairly new to this. The rooster is a Rhode Island Red, as are two of the hens. We also have two Sex Linked Black hens and two Buff Orpington hens.

We have a coop that we are not entirely happy with (we built it from a design meant to house 3 or 4 hens, which is the number we were originally thinking of having, but through a rather convoluted series of events we ended up with twice that number, and rather than scrap the coop and build a new one, we "modified" the original coop design to make it larger). One day it's my goal to build a new coop -- I've been inspired by some of the wonderful designs showcased on this forum.

We are raising the chickens primarily for their eggs. Also as an educational experience for our children. My wife and I are in our early 30s and have four children. The oldest will be 8 in a couple of months. The youngest right now is 2. We are expecting a fifth in May!

We let the chickens free range for the most part in our yard. We are attempting to keep them out of our neighbor's property with some wire fencing, which has proven to be moderately successful. :) Turns out chickens are smarter than I thought (or maybe just more stubborn)!

We also like to do some minor gardening. As we got the chickens last fall, this spring will be our first attempt to garden with the chickens, so I was on the forum this morning looking for guidance. I have read that as well as fertilizing the soil, chickens tend to eat a lot of common garden pests, which is a plus. However, I am worried that they will destroy any vegetables before we have a chance to harvest them. So my plan right now is to enclose any garden areas with the same wire fencing I've been using to keep them in our yard. Any advice from other gardeners with free range chickens would be appreciated.

Our gardening consists mostly of a few decorative flower beds, plus a couple of vegetable patches. I plan on making a new herb/kitchen garden area for my wife this year, as well.

Thanks for the warm welcome to the forum, and I look forward to learning more!
 
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4-H chicken mom

Crowing
13 Years
Aug 3, 2007
17,491
170
431
Oberlin, OH
frow.gif
and
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from Ohio. So glad you joined. It sounds like you are on your way with a great plan.
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Bat Cave Silkies

Songster
9 Years
Feb 11, 2010
1,330
22
151
Bat Cave, NC
Welcome Neighbor! My chickens & I are in WNC also--Bat Cave.
Chickens do eat garden pests, but they also eat your garden. My chickens loved to scratch away all of the flowers, then dig a "dirt bath". So--their free ranging was enclosed on a 1/2 acre mountain slope.
 

kiltedchicken

Hatching
9 Years
Mar 10, 2010
2
0
7
Western NC
Yup, I've seen several "dirt bath" areas around the yard and in various flower beds. It's been winter, so the flower beds have been pretty much bare, and I haven't really thought much of it. Now that the weather is turning warmer and I'll be thinking of planting again soon, I do want to make sure that anything I plant does not get destroyed. Does mulching seem to help at all? I don't imagine it would, but if there is anything particular that the chickens might have an aversion to, I'd love to know!
 

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