What is the consensus on chickens and gardens?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by willowtreeaviary, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. willowtreeaviary

    willowtreeaviary In the Brooder

    May 16, 2010
    Hi, all!

    A recent heavy snow collapsed my run, and, the poultry are having such a blast free-ranging in among the raised beds of our enclosed garden, I'm seriously thinking of not re-erecting the run. What is the forum-wide consensus on how well poultry and gardens co-exist? I don't plan on using seeds, so I don't anticipate that as a problem. What about young plants, though? And the birds' tearing at older plants? And are they apt to eat the produce before it's picked?

    I appreciate any and all feedback.

    Thanks, Kerry

  2. cassidy22

    cassidy22 Chirping

    Apr 20, 2011
    Front Range - Colorado
    It depends on how many birds you have and how big the garden is.

    A few birds will keep the pests down.

    Lots of birds will eat young plants and kill them, dig dirt baths in your garden beds and kill plants, as well as eat the produce you are growing. My best garden is my greenhouse, which is covered and protected from them. They have trashed my strawberry patch, my raised beds and other areas. I have a lot of chickens. One or two could never have done all that damage, so it depends on how many you have.
  3. HenFriend

    HenFriend Chirping

    May 5, 2012
    West Wales, UK
    Most of my chickens are in a run but I do let them free range when I am home from work. This year I have finally decided to put a fence round my veg patch as I was fighting a losing battle. No matter how I netted/covered/used plastic cloche etc to cover the most vulnerable veg they still found a way in. No one can say chickens are stupid! Last year they even ate my celery and picked the leaves off my climbing beans.

    I guess you will be fine if you have larger shrubs but they really do just love scratching everything up. On the other hand there is nothing more entertaining than watching them enjoying themselves so I it depends on how tidy you want your garden and what you want to produce.
  4. Afterburner

    Afterburner Songster

    Aug 19, 2010
    Vancouver, WA
    When allowed into the garden, my birds have eaten the leaves off every plant they come across. Even inedible plants like tomatoes have been stripped clean of leaves. Rooting vegetables have been ripped up and eaten as well. From now on, my garden is block with a fence of four foot poultry fencing from April through late October. After Halloween, the birds are allowed in to debug the area. Their digging and dust bathing helps uncover potatoes and other rooting vegetables. Unfortunately, the occasional carrot and potato has beak marks from sampling. During winter, the birds are allowed to dig and fertilize the garden as much as they which.
  5. Peaches Lee

    Peaches Lee Songster

    Sep 19, 2010
    My chickens are allowed in the garden until planting season begins, and then they are cut off from it via a temporary fence. They have eaten seeds that I planted, dug dirt baths right next to plants and destroyed them by digging up roots, and ate viable produce before I could get there to harvest it! LOL! The only things they really go nuts for are the tomatoes, after the squash get to a certain point they leave that alone, no trouble with beets, onions, or garlic.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by