Chickens in Your Garden
Chickens in Your Garden: I am looking to get some pet chickens for my boys. However, we have a garden and have heard that there certain varieties of chickens that will peck / eat your garden and berries.
Is there a specific variety that will leave your produce alone and just eat the pests. Any suggestions?Answer:
I have yet to meet a chicken that would ignore garden goodies! If it’s good and edible for people, chickens will normally like it too.
What we have done is fence the garden area 8’ high. It’s connected to the coop and the chickens have free access to it during the Winter months plus free ranging.
They’re helping keep the grass down and fertilizing, too. When it comes time to plant they will only be allowed in the garden supervised, if at all.
I’ve thought of letting a couple of hens raise some chicks in the Summer garden, which would be gentler on the garden than a flock of adults.
My chickens have another yard next to the garden that is their Summer/Spring/Fall area, also connected to the coop.
It has good afternoon shade and grasses, for times they are not out free ranging. The 8’ fence keeps them in and safer when we aren’t home, and keeps deer out of the garden section, too.
We have small mesh at the bottom to help keep rabbits out and smaller chicks in. Both areas combined are about ¼ acre. ( We waited to find the fencing at sale prices.)
Another solution is to make sure you plant enough for your family and the chickens. They love those huge zucchinis that have grown out of control or that new variety of peppers you aren’t sure what to do with.
My next door neighbor puts in an unfenced garden each year, and has a few game chickens that roam free 24/7. His garden gives great yield even with a few chickens in it.
Chickens will generally just eat berries and produce at ground level, so you might find a way to pen the chickens for a few weeks while the garden gets a good start, or protect plant bases with wire.
Shorter bantam breeds can’t reach as high as the large and standard breeds, but are also easier prey for hawks and other daytime predators.
I think if you provide good variety of environment to your chickens, like free-ranging, they may not focus on the garden so much; though I don’t know how much area you would have available for them.
I believe it’s important to have some sort of enclosure attached to your chicken coop, so that if you go on vacation or are gone all day, the chickens can be outside, but safe from stray dogs.
If you raise these chickens from chicks, the enclosure will keep them safe from day and night predators, once they are feathered enough to withstand outdoor temps.
So having a good pen for them can help protect the garden when it’s most vulnerable.Return to Raising Chickens Home Page