There are many benefits of gardening with chickens. The two main ones being pest control and production of free-range organic eggs. Garden chickens have a greedy appetite for slugs and love to scratch around and “help” out in the garden.
They’re great at tilling up the soil with their feet as they cluck around, which helps to break ground for new beds, and they also turn up the soil in cover beds, which improves the soil. They also fertilise the soil with their manure.
Chickens can also help with generating compost for the garden. You may want to set up a clean and safe compost area for the chickens to “run wild” in. Chickens are more than happy to help clean up the garden by munching on fallen fruit in an orchard.
Great at foraging through the weeds, chickens enjoy the slugs and snails in the garden, which helps with pest and weed control. If you would like to target an area that you want the chickens to work in, then fencing it in is your best bet.
Keep chickens off individual beds or herb gardens using low arches of wire fencing. Make sure they are low enough so that the chickens can’t get under them. If you want your perennial flowers to stay intact and not walked over or dug up, then put mulch and flat stones around the plants.
There are many ways that you can reduce feed costs, some ways being finding multi-purpose plants and planting the right amounts for both you and your chickens. Some examples of these are corn, barley, and squash. Another idea is to feed the worms dried, ground eggshells, and then feed the worms to your chickens. This is also great for the soil.
If you are raising chickens in your garden, you can control what they are eating, and healthier chickens equals healthier eggs. Feeding excess produce eg squash, that’s produced in your garden, to your chickens, may improve the taste of the egg, especially in winter. Herbs that grow in the garden can also greatly improve chicken health. Examples are, Coriander, mint, basil, fennel, thyme, and dill. These herbs are also very beneficial for us and great to cook with too.
Chickens can be great backyard entertainment, hang a cabbage or dried sunflowers in the yard during winter and have a look for yourself. Watch them stretch and move, after all, exercise is good for everyone!