Opinions on chickens polluting the garden....

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Dewolf, Jan 11, 2013.

  1. Dewolf

    Dewolf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do not know if I am posting in the right category, please let me know if not.

    I am looking for other peoples opinions, we recently gave my father in law two chickens as a gift ( he was a closet chicken lover)
    He loves his new hens and so does his wife however she told me she was recently given some advice from a friend that I personally felt very opinionated about. He told her she should never let her chickens in the vegetable garden as they will pass dangerous organisms/diseases ( I believe he means, e coli, salmonella, etc.) to her the family through the veggies.
    This individual works for an agricultural related industry, and I believe he is a Cal Poly graduate.

    So what do you think??
     
  2. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're supposed to wait 3-6 months (depending on your source) before consuming vegetables that have touched ground that's covered in fresh chicken manure. That being said, I only worry about it with crops in contact with the soil (lettuce, beets, carrots, etc.)--in which case I wait 3 months. Tomatoes, beans, trellised squash... these I don't wait any time. Raw (uncomposted or not aged) chicken manure can burn seedlings and some adult plants, so that might be a concern. You should always wash your veggies if you're using animal poo as fertilizer. Other than that, it's not really something I worry about.
     
  3. Dewolf

    Dewolf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We always raised our chickens free range and they would wander through the veggies and scratch up the dirt and I am sure poop. I have always washed the veggies of course but never worried about catching something from the veggies. HMMMM
     
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, you're supposed to compost any manure before you put it on your garden. Or put it on in the fall, let it set all winter, then till it in.

    But what's going to be far worse for your FIL's garden is the chickens themselves. Chickens do not belong in a garden. They will start out in the spring by scratching up and eating your seeds. The seeds that do sprout will be scratched out and eaten. Then when you get some actual veggies, the chickens will eat those, too. Except, they won't just nicely eat one tomato. No, they'll go around and peck holes in ALL your tomatoes, just as they ripen. They'll eat holes in your squashes. They'll scratch up your mulch--in fact, mulch attracts them.

    It's a lovely picture, chickens roaming the garden and eating up all those nasty bugs. But in my (fairly considerable) experience, the chickens do far more damage to a garden than the bugs they were meant to control.
     
  5. Brandi Leigh

    Brandi Leigh Chillin' With My Peeps

    I put chickens in the garden in the fall and let them clean up the left overs and fertalize the garden. I have never had any problems.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'd say thanks, but my birds don't have any diseases. Not that I'm eager to eat anything in contact with fresh poo! Poo gets composted, then put on the garden. But truthfully, two hens in a garden of any size aren't going to poop enough on the veggies to matter. Plus, as stated, they'll tear up the garden being in there when plants are bearing.
     
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    There's a huge difference between letting chickens glean in the garden in the fall, and allowing them in the garden when it's in production. In fact, what you're doing is exactly what I stated above--putting the manure on in the fall, then allowing it to mellow all winter.
     

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