Raising a backyard flock may be a fun and rewarding experience. What better thanks to thanking your hardworking hens for laying those delicious eggs than with a chicken garden! Not only do chickens enjoy having their own garden, but it also helps keep down dust, attracts beneficial insects, and makes owning chickens even more enjoyable. However, chickens are omnivores and can quickly devour most garden plants, grass, and anything they’re given access to. Here are 10 tips for successfully planting a gorgeous home for your chickens.
1. No Plant is completely Chicken Proof
Chickens are often picky eaters. What one hen will eat, another won’t. What one hen won’t eat today, she may favor next week or next year. And albeit they don’t eat your plants, they’ll plan to obtain, sit on, or otherwise damage those plants. Before planting up all of your landscaping with “chicken proof” plants, buy just a couple of and see how your chickens treat them for a couple of weeks before buying more. Often, chickens won’t eat strongly flavored plants like mint and rosemary. They also typically avoid eating sweet potato vines, vinca, juniper, fir, buddleia, and anything with spiky leaves. Ornamental grasses are especially nice for the chicken garden because they also look good within the winter.
2. Avoid Toxic Plants
Do not include these plants in your chicken garden: amaryllis, azalea, bleeding heart, boxwood, oilseed, clematis, daffodil, elderberry, ivy, hyacinth, eucalyptus, foxglove, hemlock, holly, honeysuckle, hydrangea, iris, ivy, jasmine, lantana, lupine, vine, mountain laurel, nightshades, oleander, philodendron, rhododendron, wisteria, and yew. If your chickens encounter a toxic plant, they’re unlikely to urge a harmful dose if you unwittingly plant one in your chicken’s reach. These plants nearly always taste bad to chickens, so one nibble will send them trying to find something better to eat. Also, avoid spraying or applying anything on your chicken garden that you simply wouldn’t want your chickens to eat, including pesticides and fertilizers that would harm your hens if they eat a treated leaf.
3. Chickens Love Digging
Chickens greatly appreciate you exhumation the soil for them once you plant, and should quickly unplant your diligence as they scavenge for worms and bugs within the freshly turned soil. you’ll cover the soil with wood chips, pavers or similar unappetizing material, or cage it in until the plant is established. When planting your chicken garden, select potting soils, and amendments that are perlite and vermiculite free. Chickens are naturally interested in Pieris rapae particles and can eat up all that they will find. While it won’t harm the chickens, their digging will disturb the plants.
4. Protect Your Plants With Barriers
Because your chickens will often dig around your plantings and disturb the roots, it’s an honest idea to pick hardy, durable plants, especially deep-rooted perennials. you’ll also avoid having your chickens obtain plants by using containers wherever possible. However, expect that your curious birds will climb in and perch on the containers unless you’ve planted them with spiny plants or guarded them with decorative twigs. Ambitious chickens have even been known to empty out pots of the plants and soil, then use those pots as nest boxes. For lovely plants that they could eat, or if they won’t leave your potted plants alone, use hanging baskets to stay those plants out of reach.
5. decide to Incorporate Hardscaping
Gravel paths are chicken friendly. Your chickens will enjoy eating the gravel (it helps their digestion), and can also keep the weeds down so you don’t get to use weed fabric under the hardscaping. Stone and cement walkways also are good additions to chicken gardens because they’re easy to stay clean. Consider adding a coffee fence also, which adds visual appeal, maybe a nice place to perch and provides the chickens an area to urge their feet out of mud or snow in wet weather.
6. Tall Plants Are a crucial Design Element
Don’t ditch the large plants! Trees, bushes and climbing vines are a crucial part of any landscape design and may provide your chickens additional benefits like shade, shelter from predators and therefore the elements, and even treats (such as fallen apples). Your chickens might eat rock bottom leaves off some plants like roses, but won’t be ready to reach the upper growth.
7. Grow Your Chickens Something Nice To Eat
Not all chicken garden landscaping is about keeping your birds out of the plants. It’s also nice to plant healthy treats for your girls to enjoy. Peaceful Valley Omega-3 Forage Blend is a superb choice for your laying hens. you’ll either plant it in their yard and protect it from being entirely decimated by laying net over the roots, otherwise, you can plant it in flats to grow first and deliver to their coop.
8. Chickens are often Garden Helpers
What about the veggie garden? Chickens aren’t good guests where everything is edible. they’re going to quickly wreak havoc on your lettuce and squash! However, they will help your garden with fertilizer and pest control by building a “chicken moat” – a fenced run surrounding the garden. you’ll also turn them loose within the garden when you’re through with the season’s harvest, and your birds will happily pack up for you. to get rid of spent tomato, eggplant, potato, and other nightshade plants before letting your chickens within the garden, as these plants have toxic leaves. If you’ve got a backyard orchard, your chickens can help keep down pest and weed problems by allowing them to graze around the trees.
9. Chickens Are Hard on Lawns
Chickens love eating grass. However, grass cannot withstand their scratching habits over an extended time. If you’ll be “pasturing” your chickens, you’ll get to confirm you’ve got enough space for them to graze without decimating the lawn. the simplest thanks to doing that is to easily monitor and limit their grazing time. you’ll also fence off sections and practice rotational grazing. If one area of your lawn starts looking too bare while the chickens are still clothed thereon, put a bit of wire fence over that section to guard the roots while the grass recovers. Never graze chickens on chemically treated lawns, or where the grass is quite 2 inches tall (the long pieces can get caught in their crops).
10. you’ll Enjoy Your Chicken Garden Too!
Chicken gardens are much nicer to seem at and visit than the typical all-dirt hen yard. Install a bench or comfortable, decorative chair (you’ll need to share together with your hens who also will wish to perch on it). Plant a tree to offer you and your hens some summer shade. Spending time together with your chickens is fun and relaxing, especially when it’s during a lovely setting that both you and your birds enjoy!