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Author Topic: Chickens vs garden predators
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  njfarmboy
  Pittstown
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Chickens vs garden predators    (Posted Wed, Jan 30 '13 at 03:52 UTC)

Hi All,
I wanted to run an idea by everyone to get a few opinions. I have about a 1/2 acre fenced in area that consists of raised beds, fruit trees, various berries and grape vines. I had a few issues with birds eating my vegetables and berries last year. I also noticed what were probably groundhogs, squirrel, and rabbit foot prints in my beds. I couldn?t seem to find any holes in the fencing and holes in the ground. Since my chickens don?t dig holes and scurry through/under fences I was thinking of perhaps moving my chickens inside the fencing to kind of scare/deter any other birds, groundhogs, and/or rabbits from eating my food. I would have to protect the raised beds, berry bushes, and vines from the chickens but I figure this might be easier than stopping the birds, squirrels, ground hogs, and rabbits. Do you think the chickens might keep away these critters? Also might they eat some of the insects and bugs before they get to my plants? My coop is very portable but my flock are layers so they can get up on the raised beds, which means I would have to use another sort of netting to protect the plants. I have used netting against the birds and somehow they could still get to the plants. What isn?t planted or mulched inside the fencing is grass so the flock should have oppurtunities for foraging even with the raised beds and berries off limits. I was also thinking the scratching and chicken poop could help the soil fertility for the following year. What does everyone think? Would something as simple as this work or am I just dreaming up ideas on a long winter"s night? If not can anyone offer any other suggestions? Thanks!
Dave

 Ohiorganic
 Eaton
Re: Chickens vs garden predators    (Posted Wed, Jan 30 '13 at 12:33 UTC)

Your chickens will not keep away any critters and will do a lot of damage to your crops as well as contaminate them with fresh poop, oh and they will also dust bath and that will dig up anything they don't eat.

best to run chickens 6 when you put the garden to bed for the winter and get them off the area a good 4 months before you want to plan anything.

Lucy Goodman Boulder Belt Eco-Farm Eaton, OH http://boulderbelt.blogspot.com http://www.boulderbeltfarm.com
 njfarmboy
 Pittstown
Re: Chickens vs garden predators    (Posted Wed, Jan 30 '13 at 04:13 UTC)

Thanks Lucy,
Thats what I figured. I have them in there now for the winter and my neighbor mentioned the other day that I should leave them in there all year. I didn't think about it until me mentioned it so I figured I would get some other viewpoints. They mostly free range the rest of the year but we have a few fox that will get one every once in a while. Thanks for the input!

 wvhaugen
 Ferndale
Re: Chickens vs garden predators    (Posted Wed, Jan 30 '13 at 05:20 UTC)

Get a .410 for the rabbits and don't worry about the squirrels and the groundhogs. If you have moles, consider it a gift as they turn the soil for you and they don't eat much.

Catering to the unique Ferndale perspective.
 old lady gator #15
 Gainesville
Re: Chickens vs garden predators    (Posted Thu, Feb 7 '13 at 01:56 UTC)

U can save chix poop..but nitrogen will kill tender plants. U need a tractor coop u can run chix.. n a closed up coop to roost n rest n @ nite.. good post..

Linda C Stanton
 Jackson Garden
 Louisiana
Re: Chickens vs garden predators    (Posted Tue, Mar 5 '13 at 06:20 UTC)

If you were really dry last year then the birds etc were probable after the water. Put out a bird bath and keep if filled with water. Once we supplied water to our natural critters we stopped having as many problems. We were in drought last year so garden was tough anyway but that seemed to help.

Teres Whitney
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