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No Name 17-10-2009 01:52 PM

Chickens killing my garden
 
Just coming to the end of my first 6 months with a bunch (that is
now a total of 5!) of chickens pecking and scratching at everything
in the garden.

Now my garden has never been the neatest of places - it's productive
and good for the kids to play with (or was until it was coated in
chicken poo!), but it's always been relatively nice to look at, in
a slightly haphazard way. Now it's kind of ... a few straggley plants
looking sadly out of the ground where the chickens have scratched up
the soil and pecked at all the new green shoots.

Other than "cook the chickens" or "keep them in their run", does
anyone have any advice along the lines of plants the chickens won't
like so will keep away from?


mark 17-10-2009 03:10 PM

Chickens killing my garden
 

wrote in message
...
Just coming to the end of my first 6 months with a bunch (that is
now a total of 5!) of chickens pecking and scratching at everything
in the garden.

Now my garden has never been the neatest of places - it's productive
and good for the kids to play with (or was until it was coated in
chicken poo!), but it's always been relatively nice to look at, in
a slightly haphazard way. Now it's kind of ... a few straggley plants
looking sadly out of the ground where the chickens have scratched up
the soil and pecked at all the new green shoots.

Other than "cook the chickens" or "keep them in their run", does
anyone have any advice along the lines of plants the chickens won't
like so will keep away from?


Having kept chickens, I found the only thing they wouldn't touch was nettles
and a rosemary bush.

mark



No Name 17-10-2009 03:22 PM

Chickens killing my garden
 
mark wrote:
Having kept chickens, I found the only thing they wouldn't touch was nettles
and a rosemary bush.


Just caught them munching the fennel that they've previously ignored.
*sigh*
Rosemary is a possibility. If I took cuttings from my current one and
planted them along the edge of the fence with next door, that may
disuade them from visiting the neighbours so much.


Derek Turner 17-10-2009 08:01 PM

Chickens killing my garden
 
On Sat, 17 Oct 2009 12:52:07 +0000, vicky wrote:

Just coming to the end of my first 6 months with a bunch (that is now a
total of 5!) of chickens pecking and scratching at everything in the
garden.



Electric fence to keep them in: worked for me. Keeps foxes out, too. Mind
you, it didn't stop a badger getting in and killing half of them!
Replacing with ducks works for others.

No Name 17-10-2009 11:15 PM

Chickens killing my garden
 
Anne Welsh Jackson wrote:
Rosemary is a possibility. If I took cuttings from my current one and
planted them along the edge of the fence with next door, that may
disuade them from visiting the neighbours so much.

I don't think it would stop them "visiting" - they just wouldn't stop
for a snack on the way out, or again, on the way back in...


But if I used it to block the gap they (well, only one of them,
actually) seem to be getting through, they won't nibble their
way through!

Oh yes, I got dragged into the garden today to look at the
thing Nick had found in the garden ... he discovered the big
chicken hiding between the run and the hedge whilst he was
trimming the hedge, shooed her out of the way and discovered
a stash of 12 eggs! (5 from her, 7 from Little Chicken)
So I guess the 10 day spell when they weren't laying may now
be explained.

The scary thing was, when he shooed her off (I think he picked
her up and plonked her down) on the lawn and ... out popped
another egg!


mark 18-10-2009 11:59 AM

Chickens killing my garden
 

wrote in message
...
mark wrote:
Having kept chickens, I found the only thing they wouldn't touch was
nettles
and a rosemary bush.


Just caught them munching the fennel that they've previously ignored.
*sigh*
Rosemary is a possibility. If I took cuttings from my current one and
planted them along the edge of the fence with next door, that may
disuade them from visiting the neighbours so much.


You'd probably get away with just a 1m high chicken wire fence. Although
chickens can jump a lot higher than this, they always jump up on to
something rigid first then jump down. So a 1m chicken wire fence would be
better than a 6 foot panel fence for keeping them in. Also the bigger the
bird the less likely they are to attempt anything athletic!

mark



aquachimp 18-10-2009 12:23 PM

Chickens killing my garden
 
On Oct 17, 2:52*pm, wrote:
Just coming to the end of my first 6 months with a bunch (that is
now a total of 5!) of chickens pecking and scratching at everything
in the garden.

Now my garden has never been the neatest of places - it's productive
and good for the kids to play with (or was until it was coated in
chicken poo!), but it's always been relatively nice to look at, in
a slightly haphazard way. *Now it's kind of ... a few straggley plants
looking sadly out of the ground where the chickens have scratched up
the soil and pecked at all the new green shoots.

Other than "cook the chickens" or "keep them in their run", does
anyone have any advice along the lines of plants the chickens won't
like so will keep away from?


OK, this might seem a bit, err, out there, ( and TBH, I'm not really
being serious) but I was thinking along the lines of how farmers use
electric fences to control cattle grazing and came up with the idea of
two large plastic sheets.
You lay them out, so that they can't blow away (but one still
relatively folded up) and each day fold back, say, a metre or two of
the spread out sheet, whilst unfolding the other to close off the
space from the previous day.

This way, every morning, as you fold back one sheet all the critters
that that being hiding on the surface, just under the plastic, would
be come fast-food, sort to speak.

No Name 18-10-2009 11:21 PM

Chickens killing my garden
 
mark wrote:
You'd probably get away with just a 1m high chicken wire fence. Although
chickens can jump a lot higher than this, they always jump up on to
something rigid first then jump down. So a 1m chicken wire fence would be
better than a 6 foot panel fence for keeping them in. Also the bigger the
bird the less likely they are to attempt anything athletic!


Damned thing got into next door /again/ yesterday, and made a right mess
of her garden. :- She's going to have to stay locked in (Chickeny,
not the neighbour!) until we can figure out what to do

glasgowdan 20-10-2009 11:43 PM

I have fenced off a little area (approx 15820ft) for my 3 chicks. It is mainly stone chips with some mucky patches. I gave up on letting them into the garden.

The fence I have used is only 600mm x 2 inch mesh and they haven't jumped out as yet!

One of them actually roosts in the doorway overnight rather than on the perch inside the coop!


David[_13_] 22-10-2009 10:52 AM

Chickens killing my garden
 
On Sun, 18 Oct 2009 22:21:36 +0000, vicky wrote:

mark wrote:
You'd probably get away with just a 1m high chicken wire fence.
Although chickens can jump a lot higher than this, they always jump up
on to something rigid first then jump down. So a 1m chicken wire fence
would be better than a 6 foot panel fence for keeping them in. Also the
bigger the bird the less likely they are to attempt anything athletic!


Damned thing got into next door /again/ yesterday, and made a right mess
of her garden. :- She's going to have to stay locked in (Chickeny, not
the neighbour!) until we can figure out what to do


Where is this? If it's a semi in a suburban location somewhere in the UK I
thought that it was verboten to keep chickens - the council doesn't allow
it here sadly.



No Name 22-10-2009 11:41 AM

Chickens killing my garden
 
David wrote:
Where is this? If it's a semi in a suburban location somewhere in the UK I
thought that it was verboten to keep chickens - the council doesn't allow
it here sadly.


It's actually a terrace in a suburban-ish location. Never even
considered if the council would complain, tbh. But we're not the
only people around the area with chickens, so either they're happy
to turn a blind eye (unless our neighbours decide to complain,
perhaps - but they're more likely to complain direct to us than to
make it official) or it doesn't apply here.

They have just given permission to allow chickens + rabbits on
allotments in the area, too, after a bit of hassle. Afaik, no-one
is doing that yet.

Hmm. I may have to go browse our council website and see if I can
find out.

No Name 22-10-2009 03:22 PM

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
compost.

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
way)

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.

glasgowdan 22-10-2009 03:44 PM

In terms of feeding, my 3 get kitchen scraps. They love raw spinach, pomegranate and carrot gratings. They will eat apple if it's finely chopped. They do turn their noses up at quite a lot though!

Their pen area is unroofed and mainly stone chippings with some mud and grass. There is a large space under their coop where they settle if it's raining. And damned if I can't get them to lay their eggs in the egg box! They are always inside the coop in a really hard spot to reach., Must get a fake egg or three and start to teach them where to put them!

They were starting to slow down their egg-laying up until 2 weeks ago when I installed a timed light in their coop. I was getting 2 eggs a day from the 3, now I seem to be getting 3 eggs 6 days a week and two one day a week. They are great wee layers and don't demand much once you have the basics sorted.

No Name 22-10-2009 09:51 PM

Chickens killing my garden
 
glasgowdan wrote:
In terms of feeding, my 3 get kitchen scraps. They love raw spinach,
pomegranate and carrot gratings. They will eat apple if it's finely
chopped. They do turn their noses up at quite a lot though!


Ours love cold rice, particularly partial to vegetarian risotto.


Christina Websell 23-10-2009 05:39 PM

Chickens killing my garden
 

"glasgowdan" wrote in message
...

In terms of feeding, my 3 get kitchen scraps. They love raw spinach,
pomegranate and carrot gratings. They will eat apple if it's finely
chopped. They do turn their noses up at quite a lot though!


I hope this is addition to their correct diet of layers pellets and not
instead of!

Their pen area is unroofed and mainly stone chippings with some mud and
grass.


Mud is not good.


There is a large space under their coop where they settle if it's
raining. And damned if I can't get them to lay their eggs in the egg
box! They are always inside the coop in a really hard spot to reach.,
Must get a fake egg or three and start to teach them where to put
them!

They were starting to slow down their egg-laying up until 2 weeks ago
when I installed a timed light in their coop. I was getting 2 eggs a
day from the 3, now I seem to be getting 3 eggs 6 days a week and two
one day a week. They are great wee layers and don't demand much once
you have the basics sorted.


You don't sound like you have the basics sorted to me, tbh. If I understand
you right, you feed them on kitchen scraps, let them out on mud and they do
not like their nest box. Must try harder.





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