Logged in as: Anonymous Search | Active Topics |

Chickens in the garden Options
LilMissy
#1 Posted : Sunday, August 05, 2007 7:44:58 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

I am by no mean an expert but what  I have found out is chickens will forage on the bugs and such until there isnt any then they go to your veggies. But you have to remember they like to stir things up and if a plant comes out in the mean time, oh well. I beg mine to go in my garden and even carry them to it, they dont stay they like under pine trees better. We left them in our corn patch that has cukes, beans and sunflowers and they didnt damage 1 plant.

Now on the moveable coop, its called a chicken tractor. They have all kinds of designs out. To me its more for a small flock. If you leave your chickens to free range, I dont see any use for it, unless you dont have the space.

Bumper
#2 Posted : Sunday, August 05, 2007 9:56:16 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494
Frosty
#3 Posted : Monday, August 06, 2007 12:51:36 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494
Chickens LOVE ripe tomatoes, and are also pretty fond of squash, watermelons, and cucumbers.  The tomatoes (perhaps because they are red) get the worst of the damage, though.  I wouldn't mind if they ate one now and then, but they tend to go through and peck at all of them.  I don't allow the chickens in the garden unless they are contained.  My husband did make me a frame out of PVC, with a hinged door on the top for feeding and watering.  I covered it with chicken wire and also attached a tarp over part of it for protection from the sun and/or rain.  It doesn't weigh too much, and I move it daily.  I have about 18 broilers in it, then after we butcher them I will put in a few layers and find a nest box to put in with them.   
zoebisch01
#4 Posted : Monday, August 06, 2007 1:16:52 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494
I have heard Bantams used in the garden.  Personally I am very leary of adding them into the mix! I do encourage my cats out there though for rodent control.  I have seen lots of snakes.  Perhaps some Gineau fowl would be better suited.  Although my Muscovies did wander into the garden the other day which makes me a little nervous!
Frosty
#5 Posted : Monday, August 06, 2007 9:05:43 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494
The only problem that I have had with guineas in the garden was in the spring... DH buys onion plants (not sets) and they would go pull some out shortly after planting.  Some they would leave laying on the ground, sometimes they would run around with with them hanging out of their beaks like little cigars.  Kinda comical looking, but DH wasn't amused... My ducks and geese were pretty well behaved for the most part, although geese will eat corn when it's still small.  After the corn grows a bit you can use geese to weed it.
zoebisch01
#6 Posted : Tuesday, August 07, 2007 1:14:53 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494
Now that is funny, Frosty!
cwatson
#7 Posted : Tuesday, August 07, 2007 11:59:37 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494
 I built a chicken tractor.  It is not fancy but it works very well.  I used plywood left over from other projects in the past and two by twos for framing.  I used hardware cloth for the sides to make it a little more preditor safe.  I switch the chickens out that go in it.  Usually two at a time.  (I pair them up by who gets along the best.)  It is 4ft X 8ft with a solid plywood top and I built in a nesting area.  It is not light but I am able to move it by myself and I'm 5'4" tall and about 115 pounds so it's not bad.  I slip wheels under it when I move it that I had from the bottoms of old trash cans and then just remove the wheels when I have it where I want it.  They really are great for keeping the pests down.  I was having a real problem until I got it made.  I am also using them to prepare next years garden area.  They scratch up the grass and fertilize the ground it is really super!
SueNH
#8 Posted : Wednesday, August 22, 2007 1:46:14 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494
My chickens are loose 99% of the time. Pens are night protection from predators or the rare day I'm away all day.
My vegetable garden is fenced. They will eat just about anything even if they aren't hungry. Full accessable feed hoppers don't make a difference. Young tomato plants get eaten, onions are favorite. Peas are decimated. Cole crops and lettuce are well loved. I haven't grown anything that's immune to munching when it's young. If it's old tough and bitter it will still fall victim to digging.

Once things are harvested and done for the season I do open the gates and let them have their way. I've come so close to frost the last few nights they may get their wish early.

They all remember the sound of the rototiller. If I start it up they are all lining up for worms and other bugs kicked from hiding. First start of spring and they are there and ready. I do sometimes scuff up the area near their coops so that they have their soft soil and leave my garden beds alone. No way for me to attractively fence them out of my flower beds so I make them their own space that helps.

The insect population is kept down by them foraging all along the outside of the fence and when the garden is done. I do admit to allowing one or two favorite personalities in the garden with me at times but once they stop their bug search and turn to the plants it's back over the fence. I have a huge area they can forage. My fields and partially grown land is surrounded by state protected lands that are more of the same. Still they would mow down my vegetables. Fence it!
gottaknit
#9 Posted : Thursday, February 07, 2008 12:17:39 AM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

My chickens must be weird, because they have rarely caused any damage to my garden. I have to keep them away from seedlings or they will destroy them with their scratching around, but I have never had them peck at tomatoes. They do peck a little at the foliage, and the lettuce leaves. I've never felt the need to fence them out of the garden, and they spend most of their time eating grass or bugs around the yard.

I only have 3 chickens, though. ;)

CountryKitty
#10 Posted : Sunday, February 17, 2008 4:23:10 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

Bumper, chickens by their very nature are attracted to gardens. BEFORE planting or AFTER harvesting that's a good thing (they'll do a pretty thorough job of bug hunting), but during the growing season they can be terrible! Tall crops provide cover from hawks while they hunt for bugs.  Bare dirt will be scratched and dustbathed in (forget about any seeds you've planted there), mulch will be scattered in search of bugs hiding there---no roots will be left undisurbed.  All leafy greens will be eaten to the ground and every pepper and tomato wil have at least one peck taken out of it. My personal advice is to keep them fenced out during the growing season.

Zoe, LOL, I had a neighbor whose hen hatched out a muscovy duckling when a neighbor's duck left eggs in the barn....my neighbor later complaigned that he knew when Graham Quacker had been in the garden with the chickens becuase most of the tomatoes would have a cone-shaped bite taken out of them....but one or two would have a crescent shaped chuck missing. (On the whole, my muscovies are much gentler on plants...no scratching or dust-bathing, just the occasional desire to make a nest amid the mulch.)

nwpodcast
#11 Posted : Wednesday, June 24, 2009 6:03:02 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

very helpful inputs - now that the seedlings are all up and well on their way, i'm tempted to let the flock out into the garden again.

i'll post how it goes! http://nwpodcast.blogspot.com

Bumper
#12 Posted : Wednesday, June 24, 2009 6:03:02 PM
Rank: Guest

Posts: 134,494

I know this has probably been asked before but everytime I do a search no results are found. I read a discussion on bestofthecountry forum about letting chickens out to forage in a garden and have to admit that I have spent all of my time trying to keep my chickens out of the garden, not in it. Will chickens forage in a garden without ruining the vegetable, or the plants themselves? Keeping the insect poulation down and getting free fertilizer sounds pretty good, but not at the expense of ruining what I have worked so hard to build.

There was also mention, in the same thread, about a "moveable chicken coop" that you could easily move around within the garden that sounded interesting, but not sure how that would work either dragging a small building around the garden....

Users browsing this topic
Anonymous
Forum Jump  
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.





Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.