As much as I love to watch chickens in the yard I confine my laying hens during most of the summer.
I hate to keep the hens cooped up, but free range chickens and unfenced vegetable or flower gardens are a recipe for disaster.
That’s because chickens can be so destructive.
Chickens will destroy tomatoes, cabbages, beans, watermelons, sprouting sweet corn – just about anything growing in the garden that is good to eat. And what free range chickens will do in a flower garden is almost obscene.
Sure free range chickens help to keep the insect population down in the garden and in the barn. But from my point of view the bug control is just not worth the damage and havoc that’s wrought in the garden when they are allowed to freely roam.
Once I’ve harvested all the tomatoes and other food that I will need for the coming year or by the beginning of September (whichever comes first ), I’ll release the chickens during the day so that they can free range again. All that is really left in the garden after September is pumpkins and Brussels sprouts. Chickens will peck at pumpkins but don’t seem to really bother the Brussels sprouts too much.