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Author Topic: Hens in veg garden  (Read 4349 times)

Skylark

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Aberdeenshire
Hens in veg garden
« on: September 13, 2013, 12:17:14 pm »
Anyone got experience of putting hens, I have 4, in veg garden over winter? Have read that it can be a good idea but am not so sure how it would work. Would they make too much mess, would it all just be a mud bath? Also am intending converting to no dig beds so am going to spread compost and manure on the beds over winter, and again wonder if the hens will just mess all this up? Any advice welcome

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Hens in veg garden
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2013, 12:33:37 pm »
Ours emptied the raised beds on to the paths. I would only do it if I could enclose them on the beds with boards so they don't kick the soil / manure off.

darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: Hens in veg garden
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2013, 02:35:23 pm »
I once constructed a small moveable enclosure the same width as the bed with a little attached house and used it to run growers over the veg beds after cropping.  It was pretty successful from memory. 


I have sold the house on but the run is knocking around if you are nearby you are welcome to take it,  Its probably about 4ft x 8ft
To follow my travel journal see http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see www.darkbrowneggs.info

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Hens in veg garden
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2013, 04:30:40 pm »
How about covering the beds with a run as darkbrowneggs suggests immediately after cropping - this gives them a chance to scratch over each bed thoroughly.  Then when they've got all the pests and weed seeds, move hens on to next bed and apply manure and compost as a mulch to the cleared bed.  If possible cover it with something - cardboard, thick straw, black polythene, for example - then when you are nearly ready to work it, pop the hens on again for a few days.  By then the manure will have been pulled down and incorporated by the worms, so the hens will just be adding a little bit of fertiliser and scruffling up the top.  Then sow/plant your crops, but be sure to keep the hens out from that point.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Hens in veg garden
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2013, 07:09:02 pm »
ours were - not much damage except scratching mud and leaves over the paths. they should eat all the nasty grubs and add a bi of fertilsers at the same time. .

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
Re: Hens in veg garden
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2013, 11:01:55 pm »
When I had hens they always had the run of the garden in the winter. It worked well. Wish I'd thought of a run over the raised beds though.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Hens in veg garden
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2013, 12:35:11 am »
Our hens can in theory get into our veg garden at any time of year, but they are only interested when the ground is fairly bare and scratchable.  I don't have raised beds so it doesn't matter how much mess they make, until the plants and seeds go in.  Mostly now I plant under weed excluding fabric so although they don't scratch the plants up they do tread on them, especially the onions  :rant:
In the winter I let the hens into the polytunnel too, mainly so they can dust bathe in the sunshine and dry soil, and they are very indignant when I shut them out in spring so my crops can grow  :D :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook: :chook:
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Skylark

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Hens in veg garden
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2013, 07:26:49 am »
Thank you darkbrowneggs for your kind offer but we are in
Aberdeenshire so too far away but it is a good idea and I think I will go for it and put them in there and follow your and fleecewifes suggestions. New I could rely on the forum to get some good info.

darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: Hens in veg garden
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2013, 09:00:32 am »
I made mine with wood and wire netting, but if I did another I would get some 2x2 wood, drill holes and make arches with blue water pipe then zip tie that fruit cage type netting.  It would make it light and easy to use and as long as the birds were shut in securely at night I think would give sufficient daytime protection as long as you were not regularly away from the house for long periods


Doing it this way you could just drop it over the beds in appropriate places


If you have a very large veg plot you can sow winter tares or ryegrass after beds are cleared then run growers over that for a double whammy of fertility for the ground plus high protein feed for the birds. :thumbsup:



To follow my travel journal see http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see www.darkbrowneggs.info

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Hens in veg garden
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2013, 12:53:06 pm »
yes, hens will dig up the onions and so will the crows  :rant:

lord flynn

  • Joined Mar 2012
Re: Hens in veg garden
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2013, 03:49:42 pm »
I used a large cloche to make a chicken run, one of those made for raised beds so hoops bolted into a frame-covered it in mesh, gave it a skirt and a frame for a pop-hole. It's very secure, heavy enough to not get blown away but easy enough to drag for one, lift with 2 (its 10ft x 4ft) and its fine for 3 middlin size hens/growers if moved often (its part covered with a tarp) plus use it as cockerel accomodation when needed. the only downside is that you can't reach into it.
Also used some large cloche hoops knocked into ground covered in bird netting for a quick run-hoops are 7.5ft across, 3 ft high-its good if you're around to keep an eye on them.

 

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