Chickens and gardens?

Do you keep livestock? Having any problems? Want to talk about it, whether it be sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, bees or llamas, here is your place to discuss.
User avatar
Sparrow
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:21 pm
Location: Scottish Highlands

Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 229946Post Sparrow »

I have been hankering after having a few chickens for awhile now, and am trying to convince my less than enthusiastic husband.

We have a very large, well fenced back garden but have been warned by a friend that chooks will wreck a garden. Now, when I say 'garden' we have a grass lawn. No flower beds at all, and nothing growing but grass. What sort of damage will chickens cause? We'd be looking at a large run and also allowing them to be free-range everyday.Breed wise, I'm interested in Bovans Goldline Hybrids and/or Australops.

TIA :)

dave45
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 701
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:20 pm
Location: Lancashire

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 229947Post dave45 »

I'd say yes they'd wreck your garden, but it probably depends on the chickens per square mile ratio... a few chickens in a very large garden might be ok... moveable fencing might be the answer so you can move the damage around and let the used bits recover. This is the idea behind movable chicken coops too. In a smaller garden they will eat every blade of grass and scratch the ground until it is bare... apart from nettles.

and do note that they poo a lot. Anywhere and everywhere. (good for composting, mind, but messy and smelly)

User avatar
Sparrow
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:21 pm
Location: Scottish Highlands

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 229949Post Sparrow »

Thanks for the response :)

There is the option of moving them to my paddocks, but I would rather have them at home and more part of the family. The garden is about 1/4 of an acre. I do have a 30 foot long by 4 foot wide section of garden that runs down the side of the house which is a bit more tucked out of the way and although it has grass is more 'rough ground' rather than lawn. I did wonder if that would be a better area for them.

Poo is fine, I take it I can rake it up and stick it straight on the compost? Can't be any worse than one of my horses who reckons it's actually an elephant :D

MKG
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5139
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:15 pm
Location: North Notts.

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 229953Post MKG »

As my neighbour (no, not that one !! :iconbiggrin: ) has just discovered, four hens - a mere four - can completely strip a 15 foot by 6 foot stretch of grass in about a week. If you like lawns, don't think of chickens. If you want chickens, say bye-bye to your lawns.

Mike
The secret of life is to aim below the head (With thanks to MMM)

User avatar
JulieSherris
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1608
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Co Galway, ROI.

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 229965Post JulieSherris »

If you got 3 hens - they would give you an average of 18 eggs a week & would be quite happy as a mini-flock.

If you let them onto your grass as well as the rough area, they should be fine & not do too much damage! They like to have an area where they can dust bathe - you can make an area within a covered run though - just keep them in the run for a week or so & they will strip that area, thereby giving them a place to shelter as well.

They do like areas of interest though - mine graze & scratch under trees, they spend time scratching around in the hayshed & are generally very busy all day long. If you only have a grassed area & they concentrate all their efforts on that, then yep, they will do their very best to make it sparse in no time at all!

You could hang veg around in different places for them to chomp on - and put it just a little higher - it gives them something to do & it's fun to watch them jump! :lol:

My hubby wasn't keen on having birds around - we have nearly 70 of various feathered things, and 2 lambs, 3 bassets & a kitty... and hubby now wouldn't have it any other way! :iconbiggrin:
The more people I meet, the more I like my garden :wink:

giz
Tom Good
Tom Good
Posts: 62
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2011 2:09 pm
Location: Lancashire

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 230002Post giz »

i have two chooks. did have 4 but two died..(just oldness)
i have them in a big sized run for them, along with a rabbit, (dont ask why, lol.. he LOVES them)
so, when i let them in the garden, they dont half eat EVERYTHING.. lol.. all my veg n plants, the grass isnt that good as the dane trashes it.. but they make a mess too.. i did have 18hens and OMG the mess they made.. lol. so yes as everyone said... they willlll make a mess hehe.. BUT its soooo brilliant to have em.. i o loove my chookies..

make sure we get picccys when you get em.. lol

Julie... 70??? what are they.. lol.. and bassets.. awww brill iv got two afghans.. lol.. love my hounds..

Arwel
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Posts: 26
Joined: Sat Oct 16, 2010 12:26 pm

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 230005Post Arwel »

You might want to look at getting some bantams. They're half the size of normal hens but i'd estimate they cause only a tenth of the damage of a full size hen. A quarter acre lawn should remain intact with a wee flock of bantams. Obviously you'll get smaller eggs and (unlike full sized hybrids) they stop laying in the winter but they are thoroughly charming birds! Wish i still had some

User avatar
JulieSherris
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1608
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Co Galway, ROI.

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 230011Post JulieSherris »

giz wrote: Julie... 70??? what are they.. lol.. and bassets.. awww brill iv got two afghans.. lol.. love my hounds..
Giz... this gives you a bit of an idea of what our 2 acres is like.... most of these are from last year, so we've added a fair few since then, but you get the idea!!
And apart from the 10 roosters & a turkey stag up on death row - oh, I mean up in the bachelor pads, everything else is left free through the day & all live (fairly) harmoniously!

Link to slideshow... http://s157.photobucket.com/albums/t62/ ... =slideshow
The more people I meet, the more I like my garden :wink:

User avatar
red
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 6513
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:59 pm
Location: Devon UK
Contact:

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 230012Post red »

if you dedicate an area to the chickens - you can let them destroy that bit and they will, and then let them into the rest most of the time, but you can restrict them if the weather is very wet/dry etc and you think it needs a rest.

chickens are ace :)
Red

I like like minded people... a bit like minded anyway.. well people with bits of their minds that are like the bits of my mind that I like...

my website: colour it green

etsy shop

blog

User avatar
Thomzo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 4307
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:42 pm
Location: Swindon, South West England

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 230013Post Thomzo »

Arwel wrote:You might want to look at getting some bantams. They're half the size of normal hens but i'd estimate they cause only a tenth of the damage of a full size hen. A quarter acre lawn should remain intact with a wee flock of bantams. Obviously you'll get smaller eggs and (unlike full sized hybrids) they stop laying in the winter but they are thoroughly charming birds! Wish i still had some
I'll echo that. The area where I had my bantams last year is now thick lush grass thanks to their efforts. The area that was under the full sized birds is still bare of grass two years on. I'd thoroughly recommend pekin bantams, not only are they very well behaved in the garden, they also can't fly (or mine couldn't) so keep themselves in the area where you want them.

A moveable run lets them explore new areas and you can move them on before they strip the ground bare.

Zoe
Think globally, shop locally
Check out my blog at http://designedbyzoe.blogspot.com/
http://www.thomzo.co.uk

dave45
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 701
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:20 pm
Location: Lancashire

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 230016Post dave45 »

Sparrow wrote:Poo is fine, I take it I can rake it up and stick it straight on the compost?
sure - just mix it well in with plenty of green and brown stuff. Allegedly it is the most concentrated animal manure and really should be composted before use. I also dig woodshaving and chicken poo mix directly into the soil though. No ill effects so far.

User avatar
JulieSherris
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1608
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:12 pm
Location: Co Galway, ROI.

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 230017Post JulieSherris »

I used a shavings/poo mix as a top mulch on my stripped beds last year - just piled it on straight from the hen house & let the ice/snow/frost/rain do its job..... when I went to turn the bed over & get it dug in a couple of weeks ago - my, the worms!! :cheers:

So far, so good..... :iconbiggrin:
The more people I meet, the more I like my garden :wink:

JoHunter
margo - newbie
margo - newbie
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 7:43 am
Location: Yarlington, Somerset, UK

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 230188Post JoHunter »

We have five chickens rotating in paddocks on our lawn, in theory their scratching/manuring/grazing should help improve the grass given time. The key seems to be not to keep them in one spot too long, or they will do real damage, and to allow the paddock to recover at least 3 weeks before having chickens on there again.

My favourite analysis on chicken runs is here http://www.richsoil.com/raising-chickens.jsp

MKG
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 5139
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:15 pm
Location: North Notts.

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 230193Post MKG »

The image of five chickens rotating in paddocks has kept me well amused for the last hour. Thanks, Jo :iconbiggrin:

Mike
The secret of life is to aim below the head (With thanks to MMM)

User avatar
Thomzo
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 4307
Joined: Thu Feb 01, 2007 1:42 pm
Location: Swindon, South West England

Re: Chickens and gardens?

Post: # 230215Post Thomzo »

MKG wrote:The image of five chickens rotating in paddocks has kept me well amused for the last hour. Thanks, Jo :iconbiggrin:

Mike
Ha ha, now I feel hungry :lol:
Think globally, shop locally
Check out my blog at http://designedbyzoe.blogspot.com/
http://www.thomzo.co.uk

Post Reply