It’s not practical to give your chickens free rein in the vegetable plot during the growing season.
DUST WASHING ZONE
Not only will their incessant scratch cause widespread destruction, they’ll devour your crops which they happen to enjoy just as much as you! If there’s a choice between young tender shoots and weeds, they’ll go for the shoots every time, so your edible plot may be met before u even starts. Nevertheless, letting them range on the plot during the winter months and until you’re ready to sow in spring will help check overwintering pest populations.
Mulched areas are a problem for any chicken goalkeeper. As they scratch in search of food the fowl will kick mulch. Maybe you have to remind yourself the bug population has decreased in size as an effect of their antics, although clearing up the mess could be a chore.
They usually decide that it also doubles up as a dust bathing zone as your flock view your garden as their personal buffet.
A lot of people overestimate the number of chickens their land can handle that may result in overgrazing as the flock denude the grass and other vegetation, if you don’t intervene. For free-ranging flocks, it’s best to liberally overestimate the outside space demanded. Maximising the benefits of your work force that is feathered may demand some sort of confinement. A great option would be to use a chicken tractor. That is essentially a small, lightweight, mobile, bottomless pencil that may be put on a special region of the plot for the chickens to ‘work’ while the adjoining beds remain unscathed. Chicken tractors can he shape or any size and can be designed to fit over your raised beds. By covering with horticultural fleece or clear plastic sheeting when you’re not using it it can double up.
Fencing, either around the garden or to contain your chickens, is your best option to protect your plants. The fencing can be either permanent or temporary. Temporary fencing is particularly useful in orchard areas and around the vegetable plot during the growing season and can then be removed in the autumn to allow your flock to help clear and prepare the areas for winter.
PROTECTING YOUR PLANTS
If your chickens are free-range, the odds are that you simply’ll need to shield seedlings and particular individual plants. An easy collar of chicken wire can be put around modest, fine plants and is generally enough to deter chickens provided they’ve plenty of other food available. Recently sown seeds or just put groundcover plants can be protected using more stalwart galvanised mesh. Chickens love flicking soil that is loose out of containers and pots. To outwit your feathered pals, attempt sowing seeds in the crevices between rocks that chickens can’t get at. As the chickens are not able to scratch in the sowing place, the seeds will have an opportunity to germinate.
Designing a chicken-friendly garden will allow you to live in harmony with your birds. Providing many layers of different plants, including evergreens lot the winter, encourages chickens to forage and will offer protection from overhead predators. A chicken-friendly garden can provide food for both you and your birds.
You’ll find that gardening with chickens is a constantly evolving process. Before hoisting the white flag in surrender, with a little planning your chickens can become your perfect garden allies rather than enemies.