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Chickens in my garden

Im about to purchase three (POL Warren) chickens. They have a 3m by 4m run and a sizeable coop. Plenty of space. That said, I’d quite like to let them free range around my garden. I’m just not sure what kind of damage to expect. I know they will savage a veg patch or herb garden and are fond of lavender, alliums and nasturtiums, but apart from these, should I expect a lot of damage? 
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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,154
    Yes.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,154



    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • dave125dave125 Posts: 178
    literally bare soil is all you will have after a month or so.
  • tui34tui34 Béziers, Herault, FrancePosts: 1,983
    As @pansyface says "Yes".  I have a hen  - had 3 but one died after the other and I decided not to replace them.  She gives me fresh eggs  from time to time and generally we get on.  She has a run and also the use of the plastic glasshouse (hard corrugated plastic). In the winter - she  runs free in  the backyard where I have my vege garden.  To keep her away from my precious veges like silverbeet, cabbages etc.  I have these veges under a netting enclosure.   I do carrots, beetroot, turnips, some cabbage, silverbeet, pak choy and broccoli so that netting enclosure is quite high.  If you don't mind protecting your veges then your girls can run free as they do keep down the weeds and snails.  But "yes" they are very naughty!  Our girls were Polly, Wally and Doodle.  We just have Wally left!   Here she is.
    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,349
    Yeh - they aren't exactly 'garden friendly'  :D
    Good names @tuikowhai34 - but I think she's staying alive to spite you with having that name  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • The_herpetologistThe_herpetologist West YorksPosts: 481
    Thanks. Gonna keep them cooped up then. They have a big enclosed run anyway. Looking forward to mulching my roses with their poo.
  • melclearmelclear Posts: 3
    Hens are amazing, they fertilize as they go and eat pretty much anything (they do seem to know what they shouldn't have) but they will quickly leave the garden bare!  Let them out in the veg patch once you have harvested, they will clear up any last bits and will also eat unwelcome pests as well as turn the soil for you :) 
  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 995
    I have to confess I prefer not to keep animals confined.  If you've got a piece of ground that needs clearing, they'll do it.  If you're digging, they'll pounce on every wireworm etc.  You might like to create a mobile run that, when necessary, you can take to a new place and give them a bit of variety?
  • tui34tui34 Béziers, Herault, FrancePosts: 1,983
    edited May 2020
    I usually dry the poo somewhere before using it - or if fresh:  I dilute it in a bucket and water the garden with it.  It is full of nitrogen so will give you big leaves.  Good stuff.  Rooster Booster!!   @Fairygirl - she's pretty feisty and must be getting on, but she's still laying - erratically - but the eggs are so good for fresh mayonnaise or lightly poached.  
    A good hoeing is worth two waterings.

  • Gardengirl..Gardengirl.. Posts: 4,134
    I have chickens they do like to dig in bark chippings for bugs, I have them at the allotment I keep them in the cage and run when not there let them in an extra bit of run when we are there or let them out and about on plot they do like it when you dig they are right at your fork, make so many cute sounds never knew chickens did till I got them
    I have mixed chickens ones that lay different coloured eggs and also little bantams they make less mess, I get them up in morning and shut them in at night

    Have you a picture of your cage/ run?
    Hampshire Gardener
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