Will chickens eat my watermelon and cantelope plants?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Virginia, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. Virginia

    Virginia Hatching

    Apr 23, 2008
    Hi, I'm just researching on raising chickens, and this is my first post. [​IMG] We currently have a greenhouse that I am just starting to grow in (hoping to get to the point of growing all my own veggies) but we plan on having a outside garden with watermelon, cantelope, eggplant and squash since they vine so much.

    I'm looking at coop designs, run designs etc and overwhelmed, lol. But whatever I choose, I'd like to let the chickens out to roam around our backyard. We have a 6' privacy fencing all around, so they should be pretty safe, but I'm afraid of them eating my garden, flowers, and my new grape plants.

    My yard is basically type II gravel, and short weeds (we picked the rest). We also have a few flower beds, 3 grape plants, and the garden area mentioned above.

    Do I need to fence off the garden and keep them out, would they eat the watermelon plants? Do they eat flowers? (I have sweet williams mostly) If I do have to fence off the garden, how high does the fence have to be before they will leave it alone and not just go over it? I have about 1,000 more questions, but I'll try searching first. [​IMG]

    Thanks for any help. Virginia
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2008
  2. Rte.66_chicks

    Rte.66_chicks Songster

    Feb 22, 2008
    Kingman, AZ
    Mine ate the melons, but not so much the vines. They LOVED breaking into canteloupes and watermelons, and they loved tomatoes, too. I'd fence anything you don't want eaten, and if they don't eat it, they will lay waste to where it's planted with their scratching.
  3. Virginia

    Virginia Hatching

    Apr 23, 2008
    That is kind of what I figured. How tall of fence do I need to put up to keep them out? Can I use something like chicken wire and metal stakes?

    I should probably let them roam the front yard instead, it is much bigger and everything is weeds or mesquite trees out there, lol. I have an acre lot and my house sits way back on the lot.

    I just have 5' chain link though, no privacy fence that should still keep them safe during the day, shouldn't it? (once fully grown, chicks would get right through that)
  4. Rte.66_chicks

    Rte.66_chicks Songster

    Feb 22, 2008
    Kingman, AZ
    I'd go at least 4' high. Even with their wings clipped, they can fly pretty well. Chicken wire should be fine. I use welded wire and the pound-in type metal fenceposts.
  5. raindrop

    raindrop Songster

    Feb 10, 2008
    Western Oregon
    You want a fence. It's not just the eating that will hurt your garden, it's the scratching. They scratch all around the roots and can do significant damage that way too.
  6. tvtaber

    tvtaber Songster

    Aug 2, 2007
    Central CA
    I think it is so cute that you think a 5 foot fence will keep a chicken in! That is what I thought about our 6 foot fence a few months ago! A 7 foot fence may keep most chickens in, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it. I've seen a white leghorn fly almost straight up 6 feet and clear the fence on the first try. We lost one americauna over our 6 foot privacy fence and found her a week later in the neighbors yard. If you want to keep them from the garden, you need a serious fence around the garden (7 foot) or build a run with a roof (bird netting, etc) for the hens. My hens will eat a garden plant in no time, and can decimate a grape vine (leaves and fruit) faster than you can say NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!
  7. mmajw

    mmajw Songster

    Jan 31, 2008
    I would be willing to say that they would eat them.
  8. kristihilmoe

    kristihilmoe In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2011
    Quote:My husband just took the watermelon end/juice/left over out to the chicken pen and the ten 5wk old chickens GOBBLED it!
  9. aggie9296

    aggie9296 Songster

    Jan 28, 2011
    Panama City, FL
    They will eat all kinds of tender shoots and plants, including potted plants. They just about shredded my Cannas when they were growing back.

    I have a 3 ft rolled plastic fence (from Lowes) with some T posts around my garden. They evidently do not realize that they can fly over it. They also do not fly over my 6ft privacy fence.
  10. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    Mar 31, 2010
    Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
    My suggestion is to build a coop and run large enough for them to stay in all the time. Then let them free range in the fall, winter and early spring before the plants go in. What do I know, I can't grow anything that they don't destroy!

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