Why have chickens in your garden? They are such good workers! They weed, eat bugs, fertilize, cultivate and turn soil! And as a bonus, give you yummy, rich, free range eggs. And they are fun to watch. They get down right spoiled and some of them love to help you do everything! You have to move a chicken to plant something!
Having chickens in your garden requires some planning. First of all, they need a house to roost in and lay eggs. It does not need to be fancy. My chickens have a little girls play house. There is welded wire over the windows and door, a nest box out the back window and a 2×2 across the inside for a roost. I put hay inside and just rake it out every week or two. A plastic tub with the side cut out is their “chow house”. Inside the house they soiled the food. And the water is just a big pan outside.
You need a very secure fence. One that is buried into the ground about 6 inches. Foxes love chicken and can dig under your fence . Over hanging trees are not a good idea. Raccoons and possums can drop down into your area. They also kill chickens.
Then there are hawks. Some bushes or small fruit trees to get under are a good idea. Chickens are pretty good at knowing a hawk is around and will seek shelter under bushes. They will also do a bit of fertilizing and cultivating while under there. To protect them from hawks out in the open area, erect determents. I stick up tomato cages, bean poles or some temporary fencing. What this does is break up the swoop of the hawk. They have to have momentum to swoop in, grab the chicken and fly off.
Protecting your garden from the chickens. Chickens love tender young green things and newly turned dirt. I use chicken wire and some bean poles to fence off the chickens from newly planted areas. When the plants are big I remove the fence. I never see a tomato horn worm or cabbage worm and do not seem to have problems with vine borers. But, beware, chickens like tomatoes, especially Brandywines.😁But, they can only reach so high! They also like cole crops.
Yes, you will lose some chickens. It is nature. Foxes, raccoons, and possums have to feed their young. Some pre-planning helps a lot to discourage them. Chickens are entertainment and fun. They convert your kitchen scrapes into compost. They will come running when you call them and they will all have names! They will make you smile!