Chooks and the vegetable garden. - Chooks in vegetable gardens.

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by Veggie Boy, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. Veggie Boy

    Veggie Boy Junior Member

    Oct 3, 2003
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    I'm about to move to 1 acre that has a chook pen and I am keen to keep chooks myself. I have not done this since I was a boy at which time we did not free range the chooks because of our dogs.

    I intend to have many vegetable gardens and have read in permaculture and other books that free ranging the chooks in the vegetable patch can assist in pest control. In practice do the chooks eat the vegetables as well - or are they pre-occupied with scratching round for pests etc and just take a couple of nips at the vegetables???
  2. Chook Nut

    Chook Nut Junior Member

    Mar 31, 2003
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    Hi Vegie,

    Chooks and the vegie patch dont mix too well. My chooks didnt eat much but they crush seedlings, eat the things they really like (mine ate strawberries and carrot tops mainly), but the scratch like heck to get those grubs and thats where the damage gets done.

    In permaculture you mainly let your chooks in fenced off sections of the vegie patch either before you plant it out ie. for scratching and fertilising the soil; or after you have harvested or have a few things left in that you wont be harvesting so they get feed on that.

    Ducks are good for grubs and generally shouldnt do as much harm as a chook, but b/c they have bigger feet they can stomp on smaller plants.

    I tend to go for introducing beneficial and predatory insects to control pest problems in the vegie patch. I had great success at my last place by doing this. The few grubs i did have probs with were easily spotted and have learnt how to deter them a bit more now.

    One of my aims being on acerage now is to have some proper chicken runs where i can practice crop rotation in fenced off sections. I expect my chooks to be released into the orchard section as well from time to time as they are pretty good bug hunters and wont do as much damage as a vegie patch.

    Hope that helps a little :;):

  3. midwife

    midwife Guest

    in the tropics of NT, they have a wet and dry season veggie patch and you let the chooks have a crack at whichever bed is not in use, not sure where u live, but works a treat up there.
  4. Guest

    Linda Woodrow has a book called 'The Permaculture Home Garden' (Ringwood, Vic.: Viking, 1996) in which she describes a vegetable bed/chook system as follows:
    The chooks (10-14 of them) are housed in a dome-shaped mobile house made from pvc piping. It fits exactly over one of the circular veggie beds in a mandala layout. There might be six of these in one mandala. The dome is rotated around the beds to prepare them for the next planting. There is also room in this system for six fruit trees and six compost bed 'stations'. She suggests you can scale this pattern up if you want to grow more veggies, and says she has done it herself on a commercial scale. Two mandalas will feed a family; seven starts to look like a small business and would need an area 45 metres accross. Read the book to find out more. A number of people have tried this system and refined it for their own use.
    I have seen a somewhat similar system used at the Eco-house in Newcastle (NSW) where the veggie beds were all the same shape as a portable chicken ark which was rotated around the garden.
    The main point is not to let the chickens spend much time with the veggies that you want to grow/eat yourself. What they are good for is clearing the ground and fertilising it.

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