Chickens are making a comeback in residential settings as many families learn how fulfilling it can be to become more self-sufficient. Whether you’re interested in owning chickens for eggs, meat or both, you may be wondering if they will end up ruining your garden. The answer to this concern is a little complicated, since chicken scratching aerates and improves the soil, but it can also dig up seeds and plants. Here are a few things you can do to prevent your backyard chickens from harming your garden space:
Put Cages Around Your Plants
It isn’t very difficult to put wire cages around your plants, and doing so will keep your chickens from pecking the leaves or scratching up your plants. It is especially important to put cages around newly planted seeds and seedlings to keep them from being dug up.
Separate the Garden Into Multiple Areas
To give your chickens a clear space where they can roam, consider separating your garden into multiple areas with posts and chicken wire. Then, when you are ready to let the chickens out to roam for the day, they will have a separate area where they can scratch and peck as much as they want without affecting your garden. Housing your chickens in a coop is also a great way to keep them contained and out of your garden.
Supervise Your Chickens
If you don’t like the idea of separating your garden space from your chicken run areas, you can always supervise your chickens while they roam. Let them explore the garden area and aerate the soil while keeping them out of mischief. If you choose supervised roaming, do so in the evening when the chickens are likely to explore for a short period of time then return to their coop to roost.
It can be very rewarding to own chickens, and they create a fun learning opportunity for kids as well. It is possible to enjoy all of the benefits of backyard chickens without dealing with the annoyance of ruined crops if you utilize one or more of the above tips.