Chickens and gardens - most people cringe at the thought, conjuring up images of rabid hens tearing up and devouring every precious plant and vegetable patch in the backyard. Well, it doesn’t have to be so! In fact, there are loads of great benefits that chickens can bring to your backyard - and plants that are optimal for chicken coinhabitance.
The benefits of having a chicken in your garden
Chickens can actually be amazing for certain aspects of your garden.
Chickens love to eat loads of the pesky pests that can destroy your plants - beetles, aphids - all sorts of creepy crawlies!
They also looove to eat larvae - so they can catch the plant killers before they start causing damage!
Chickens also love to eat the seeds of burgeoning weeds - helping to keep your garden free of invasive plants!
A common practice by gardeners wanting a healthy, fertilized backyard is to move the chickens to different areas. This can be done by positioning the chickens over the garden beds in autumn and winter, so they pick all the larvae, weeds and insects out - leaving the soil ripe for spring planting!
How to keep your most precious plants out of reach
There are heaps of visually pleasing ways that you can keep your chickens away from the plants you think may be at risk of prying beaks.
Poultry fencing, portable electric fencing and dense hedges - putting a barrier between your garden and your chickens is a fairly surefire way to keep your garden safe (unless the breed is an egg-ceptional flyer). Even if the breed is a sufficient flyer - a barrier acts as a great deterrent.
Hanging baskets - there are heaps of plants that can thrive in a hanging basket and be strung up off the ground where the chickens can’t reach them. Large pots can also serve the same purpose, and are visually striking.
There are certain plants that chickens don’t seem too fussed about, that are optimal for those letting their chickens free range around their garden patches. Here are a few options that will let you keep your beautiful garden intact whilst letting your girls run around freely!
The taller the plant, the easier it is to keep it out of reach from chickens. Roses, barberry, dogwoods and hydrangeas” - all beautiful plants, with roses and barberry having their own defence mechanism in the form of their pointy thorns!
Sunflowers are particularly hardy against chickens - their stems are strong, and they grow high off the ground. Be wary though - un hulled sunflower seeds aren’t good for your flock (hulled sunflower seeds can be used as a treat), so keep an eye out for any seeds that may be unwittingly ingested.
For any plants that start small, why not plant them in a tall pot to start off with, and then plant them out when they reach a decent height? That way the chickens don’t have the chance to get their beaks on them!
You can always trial and error your chickens with various plants to find out what they have a taste for - a ‘guinea pig’ flower or vegetable plant and see if your flock leave it alone, or peck at it!
If you're looking to keep your chickens enclosed whilst enjoying the benefits of fresh grass in the garden, why don’t you consider one of our coops that comes with a chicken run? They let chickens forage and roam around to their hearts content - whilst giving you peace of mind that your garden will stay intact, and that your grass will be fertilized and pest-free.