If your chickens have access to the garden, they will absolutely destroy it. At least a little bit. Chickens are voracious and indiscriminate ground scavengers, who love nothing more than to scratch through the earth to find tasty morsels such as grubs, bugs, and seeds.
Photo by author. Even two or three chickens can lay waste to a carefully planted garden in just a few minutes, if given free rein to forage. Despite the damage that random chicken foraging can do to your garden, chickens and vegetable gardens can be natural companions.
This of course begs the query “Can you keep chickens in the garden?”
Your chickens don’t need to go right on top of your garden beds. They can run around the yard and eat bugs perfectly fine without stepping right on your plants. During the winter you can put your chickens in the garden. They can till and fertilize it.
A question we ran across in our research was “Do chickens need a tractor for gardening?”.
A chicken tractor that you move every day down rows of your garden will allow the chickens to eat bugs, scratch around and aerate your soil, fertilize and generally be happy chickens, while also protecting your plants from chicken attacks. This gives the chickens the benefits of free-ranging, yet they are more or less protected from predators.
What happens if you have too many chickens in your yard?
If you have too many chickens for the size of your yard they might start eating your vegetable plants. Don’t buy too many chickens. Baby chickens are such cute little puff balls. When you’re in the store you might be tempted to buy a lot of them. Don’t buy more than 3.
Is chicken manure bad for plants?
Secondly, fresh chicken manure is also high enough in nitrogen that it can ‘burn’ plants, and may even kill them. The roots of a plant can be damaged if they come into contact with too nitrogen rich a material.
Will chicken manure burn plants?
The answer is to use it as a soil amendment or fertilizer. However, raw chicken manure can burn and damage plants. It should be composted or aged prior to use. In addition, raw manure can contain pathogens that can harm people and animals.
You should be asking “Can chicken manure be used as compost?”
Unlike dried manure, it cannot be used as such but must be composted or aged before it is applied, or else the high ammonia content will burn the plants. Chicken manure from conventionally raised chickens could be contaminated with antibiotics.
Chicken manure is an excellent source of nitrogen – one of the three main nutrients essential for plant growth. It also has reasonable amounts of phosphorus and potassium and it also has smaller quantities of other plant nutrients – including calcium, for example.
Can I use fresh manure in my garden?
If you use fresh manure in your garden, you run the risk of exposing your plants to high levels of nitrogen (in the form of ammonia) and salts. Manure that is too fresh, or not composted completely, may contain too much nitrogen (ammonia) or salt, which can harm your plants. This is much more likely with “hot” manure that contains lots of nitrogen.