A lot of people work on keeping chickens out of the garden. I’m going to show you how chickens and gardens can work together.
Gardening with Chickens
I’m assuming you have a backyard vegetable garden and you want to start raising backyard chickens. Or you already have both, but want to know how to make them work together.
How can backyard chickens help my garden?
Fertilizer. Chicken poo is one of the best fertilizers for your garden. If you’re keeping your chickens in a chicken tractor–a chicken tractor is a house your chickens sleep in that is light enough so you can move it around–you can plant your garden beds where the chicken tractor used to sit.
Or you can simply scoop a shovel full of chicken poo and mix it into your garden soil. Either way, you’ll have a great source of organic fertilizer at your fingertips.
Pest Control. Chickens eat bugs. Ask anyone who starts keeping backyard chickens. They will tell you how it’s like all the bugs just disappear.
Farm Fresh Eggs. Best of all you’ll be rewarded by the quality and flavor of your fresh eggs. Imagine visiting your backyard garden and coming back inside with a couple tomatoes, some sweet corn, and a handful of fresh organic eggs.
How can backyard chickens hurt my garden?
Too many. If you have too many chickens for the size of your yard they might start eating your vegetable plants.
How to avoid this:
Don’t buy too many chickens. Baby chickens are such cute little puff balls. When you’re in the store you might be tempted to buy a lot of them. Don’t buy more than 3. If you have a normal sized back yard 3 chickens total is how many you should have.
Digging up your garden. Chickens do a lot of really fun things. They like to lay down on the ground and give themselves a “dust bath”. If you’ve never seen this before it’s really cute. Unless they do it right on top of your best tomato plant!
How to avoid this:
Don’t leave your chickens loose to run around the yard 24/7. You should have a little chicken coop they are comfy in. Then you can let them loose to run around the yard and eat bugs when you feel like it.
Have a little fence around your vegetable garden. Your chickens don’t need to go right on top of your garden beds. They can run around the yard and eat bugs perfectly fine without stepping right on your plants.
During the winter you can put your chickens in the garden. They can till and fertilize it. Then in the spring you can put them back in the Triangle Chicken Coop.
3 Tips for making chickens and gardens work together better.
1. Use the chicken poo as fertilizer. Mix it into your garden beds.
2. Feed your chickens yucky produce you don’t want. If a tomato has an icky worm in it and now your kids won’t eat it, guess who will, your chickens! To them the worm is an appetizer. They will turn that waste into eggs.
3. Think of the chickens as another plant in your backyard vegetable garden. Organic gardeners know that planting different things together gives you better produce because they compliment each-other. Make this the year you plant tomatoes, corn, peas, and chickens. Come harvest time you’ll be collecting all your herbs, vegetables and eggs.
The bottom line:
If you already have a backyard vegetable garden, raising chickens is a natural fit. The two compliment each-other and have overlapping benefits.