Chickens as Garden Helpers

 

 

Gardens are not easy to maintain with insects, parasites, and other herbivores always hovering around. We usually use fertilizers and insecticides to keep the plants healthy and get rid of the unwanted inhabitants.

Many of us don’t know that chickens can help us with our gardens.

Chickens can be used for tilting and digging of worms. Their poop is also an excellent organic fertilizer.

James Hermes, a poultry specialist from Oregon State University, suggests keeping some chickens in coops that can be placed around the garden, especially between rows of vegetables.

“Chickens put nutrients (manure) in the soil and remove some of the small weeds, and they will eat insects. If there are bugs on the plants they will get them, too.” he said.

There are also some drawbacks according to Hermes, but nothing gardeners can’t live with.

“They (chickens) also get the small tender plants like tomatoes. But corn stalks a month or so old — they won’t damage those.”

Meanwhile, Lisa Steele, author of Gardening with Chickens: Plans and Plants for You and Your Hens, provided tips in managing 12 chickens for every season.

She said that in spring, chickens should be put in the yard as they will eat bugs, stir and cultivate the soil.

In summer, they should be kept out as they eat leftovers after the harvest season. Putting fences around the plants are recommended.

During winter, chicken manures are great to use as fertilizer. Chicken manures are nitrogen-rich. It is advisable to let them mature for four to six months to avoid burning the plants.

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