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Old 22-10-2009, 03:22 PM posted to uk.rec.gardening
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Default Chickens killing my garden

Janet Baraclough wrote:
Now we're heading into winter, when plant growth stops but chicken
scratching and pecking
intensifies (because they need more calories in cold weather). So by
spring, your garden is likely to
be a mudbath, with no plant growth within chicken reach. In a small
area, chicken poo gradually acidifies the soil to
a level which along with the scratching, reduces the population of worms
and other soil-living creatures.

Hmm. Hadn't thought of the poo being a problem. We've always looked at
it as a natural fertiliser. Actually, a lot of it gets thrown onto the

You will then find, that the lack of green material and live food in
their diet, changes the colour of the egg yolks and reduces the
free-range taste quality you enjoyed this past summer.

I have to be perfectly honest, eggs just taste like eggs to me, I'm very
unappreciative of this "ooh, it was lovely and fresh" attitude everyone
else seems to have. (As I think I said, they're my partner's chickens
not mine, although I'm kind of getting fond of them in a 'pet' kind of

will peck each other until they are bald and bleeding). and fresh plant
material to maintain egg quality (try a grocer, for their veg waste) in
addition to chicken feed and grain.

Yeah, I was doing that for a while, but our local grocer's closed after
a 6 month or so trial opening. Although when I come back from work I
do pass a few "any bowl for a pound" market stalls which have quite bad
fruit that I may start buying for them.

Finally, I would say that "chicken damage" and egg production are
both closely related to the breed, size and number of hens kept. 2 or
3 birds of a commercial laying hybrid,
will vastly out-lay a dozen little bantams, or, 6 heavy traditional
meat breeds. So you may be able to redress the problem to some extent by
choice of breed and flock size.

I don't know what we currently have, other than there are 5 of them, and
2 are bantams and 2 are still 'babies', with 1 bantam and 1 big one both
laying slightly less than 1 a day each atm. The big one is brown and
looks quite 'standard chicken', and the bantams are small and white with
black markings. The other two are much prettier, but again i can't
recall what they are.