So, what are the tips for creating a chicken friendly garden? There are more than a dozen tips to create a welcoming and attractive garden. Some of them include choosing the right plants for the garden, providing suitable landscaping, and many more.
I find it difficult to admit that the chicken yard is the most unpleasant area to visit. This is the case, especially among new backyard chicken owners. Chickens can make their living space messy, smelly, and dusty. If you are one of the faint-hearted people, you will not want to spend even a minute in such places. But, you can transform the spaces around your chicken coop using a simple yet friendly garden. And that’s exactly what we are going to discuss in detail.
Raising backyard chickens is both a fun and rewarding experience. From entertaining to fresh eggs and delicious meat to organic fertilizer, chickens are quite resourceful. So, which is the best way to thank these beautiful birds if not by providing them simple yet beautiful gardens?
Backyard chickens enjoy spending most of their time in a garden. This is where they scratch the ground for worms, bugs, and small rodents. The garden also provides a safe haven away from the prying eyes of predators. At the same time, plants in the garden shield them against the sun in summer. So there is more to providing a garden to your backyard flock than just the beauty aspect of it.
On the flip side, chickens are omnivores and will most probably devour several garden crops, grass, and everything else they will gain access to. The question is, how can you prevent such cases?
Below are a few tips for creating a chicken friendly garden
Choose the Right Plant for the Chicken Friendly Garden
This is one of my tips for creating a chicken friendly garden that I never knew. You should know that chickens are picky eaters. Meaning that what one bird eats the other one will not. Also, this statement could mean that what one chicken doesn’t eat today it may eat in the future.
Even if they may not eat the plants in the garden, they may opt to dig them up, trample them or damage them. This form of destruction could change the entire image of your chicken’s garden. That is the reason you need to consider picking only the right plants that will survive the invasion of your backyard chickens.
To achieve this feat, you should try a few plants to see how your birds would respond to them. Such “chicken proof” plants could keep your garden looking good throughout.
More often than not, chickens tend not to feast on strongly flavored or scented plants such as rosemary and mint. They also avoid eating butterfly bush, potato vines, fir, or plants with spiky leaves. This is to say that such plants would be a better choice for your backyard chicken friendly garden. Don’t forget to include ornamental grasses to make the garden more beautiful.
Beware of Toxic Plants and Avoid them
Next in the list of tips for creating a chicken friendly garden is vital and should be taken seriously. Toxic plants can cause a lot of problems if your chickens peck at them. Their toxicity might lead to some health problems or even death. Therefore, avoid them by all means.
Below is a list of toxic plants that you should not add to your chicken friendly garden:
These plants taste bad, and your chickens will not like them. But you should not take chances given that some of the flock might want to peck at them out of curiosity.
Likewise, avoid applying or spraying harmful chemicals on your backyard chicken garden. Your chickens might ingest those chemicals through eating garden plants.
Protect the Soil From Your Backyard Chickens
You should know that your feathered friends greatly appreciate you plowing or digging up the soils in the garden. This is because the dug up soil helps them scavenge for bugs, worms, and small rodents.
The freshly turned soil exposes all kinds of edibles for your birds. As such, they would scratch the ground to try to find something to eat. They could end up damaging your landscaping and uprooting ornamental plants in the garden.
To protect the soil inside the garden, you should consider covering exposed areas with pavers, wood chips, or cage it. Doing so will allow plants to grow and establish themselves without interference from your chickens.
A better way of ensuring that the soil in the garden is not disturbed is by the use of non-soil materials. Look for potting amendments and soils that are perlite or vermiculite free. These materials will protect the soil around the garden as plants grow.
Protect Your Plants in the Garden
Since your birds will spend most of their time digging around the plantings, you should find a way of protecting the garden. In this case, you must look for hardy, deep-rooted and durable plants.
On the other hand, you may use containers to grow plants where possible. While in their respective containers, plants will remain protected from chickens throughout their existence.
How about when your ever curious chickens climb and perch on those containers? Well, you may use twigs or spiny plants to protect your potted ornamental crops from your chickens.
If not, they will empty the containers and use them as their nest boxes. This calls for more effective ways of protecting your plants. So, hanging baskets should come in handy to keep away your chickens.
In order to incorporate hardscaping, you need to consider adding a few gravel paths to the garden. These paths are usually chicken friendly and a good source of grit for their digestion. Gravel will also help control weeds, primarily when you use them together with the weed fabric during hardscaping.
Stone and cement are another great addition to your hardscaping when designing your chicken friendly garden. They are easy to maintain and lasts longer than other materials in the garden.
Consider erecting a lone stone wall not only to promote hardscaping but also to add visual appeal. Besides, this structure can serve as an excellent spot for your chickens to perch when in the garden.
Add a Few Tall Plants to Your Chicken Friendly Garden
Big or tall plants can also transform the entire outlook of your chicken garden. Bushes, trees, or climbing vines are a great addition to any landscape design.
They can provide additional benefits to your chickens such as shelter from predators, shade in hot weather, and tasty treats (fallen apples and other fruits). These plants will keep the garden looking good throughout because your chickens will only eat bottom leaves but not higher growth.
Include Something Tasty For Your Chickens to Eat
It is never always about keeping your lovely birds away from the garden plants. Instead, you should make them have a reason to spend their time in the garden. Adding a few plant healthy treats to the garden will definitely entice them into spending their time there.
Plants like the Peaceful Valley-Omega-3 Forage Blend are a perfect choice for your layers. You may plant it in the yard and grow it in flats before transferring to the garden.
Install Secure Fencing
Even though your chickens will be spending their time in the garden, you should also consider their security. Installing secure fencing will provide them with protection by keeping them in while keeping predators out.
Many types of secure fencing do exist today. You may choose the more expensive ones to make the garden more secure or go for the cheaper ones. Both options will discourage predators from wreaking havoc to your birds when having a good time in their garden.
Chicken wire is the most common type of fencing that you can rely on. The fence comes with good quality materials to reinforce the area around the garden or coop.
Even if you have secured the garden with good fencing, you should also look around for holes or escape routes. After all, the security of your backyard flock should be your primary concern.
Apart from plants, fencing, and gravel, which other things should I add to my chicken friendly garden? You may include food and water on the list of those items you want to be in the garden. Chickens will need food and water when they are hungry and thirsty while in the garden. You should provide these two basic needs to keep them active and hydrated throughout.
Are nesting boxes necessary in the chicken garden? Yes! If you have layers in your backyard, you should consider providing enough nesting boxes for them to lay eggs. Place these boxes at strategic points within the garden to serve all layers and for easy collecting of eggs.
Chickens deserve a friendly garden to spend most of their daytime there. The garden should have all the requirements to keep your birds comfortable, safe, and happy. Make sure to grow safe plants and install secure fencing to protect your chickens every time they are in their garden.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!