There are plenty of reasons why you might decide to get a chicken. The most popular of which is to get some farm-fresh eggs right out of your own backyard. For many, part of owning chicken’s appeal is that you can make sure your food is coming from a healthy source. However, chicken ownership comes with other perks.
Are Chickens Good for Gardens?
Chickens naturally aerate the soil, eat unwanted pests and weeds, and provide your garden with a steady amount of fertilizer. This makes it a wonderful perk about adding a chicken to your yard. Chickens can be great for your gardens, depending on the type of plants you are growing.
If you’re planning on getting chickens and you love gardening, it’s vital to understand why chickens are good for gardens. As well as the drawbacks of letting your chickens roam in the garden.
How Do Chickens Benefit a Garden?
Chicken love gardens, especially fruit and vegetable gardens, with the relationship between the two mutually beneficial. Not only is a garden an excellent source of food and activity for your chicken, but your chicken is an excellent land management resource.
Introducing a couple of chickens to your garden can aid plant growth in several ways: by aerating the soil, providing it with nutrients, and removing harmful pests and weeds.
How Do Chicken Aerate Soil?
Every gardener knows that aerating your garden plays an essential role in a plant’s ability to absorb water and grow to its full potential. When the soil becomes compact over time, oxygen and water cannot move as easily amongst the soil and can stump your plant’s growth.
A lack of aeration can profoundly impact a plant’s health, even killing large plants like trees.
The addition of a chicken, however, will see your aeration needs met. Many farmers and chicken owners alike will vouch for their soil tilling qualities.
As they forage for those tasty insects amongst your garden or indulge in their daily dust bath, they will scratch and peck at the ground.
This behavior helps aerate your garden and keeps the microbes and organisms in the soil healthy for optimal plant growth.
How Does A Chicken Provide Your Garden with Nutrients?
Believe it or not, but chicken poop is an excellent fertilizer for your garden, yard, fruit trees, and vegetable gardens. It has a high nitrogen content that promotes healthy plant growth.
Nitrogen is essential to plants. It aids in photosynthesis and is one of the main building blocks for plant protoplasm. Without nitrogen-rich soil, plants won’t be able to thrive.
This is where your chicken’s presence in your garden can be beneficial. Their stool is rich in nitrogen, as well as other soil essential nutrients like potassium and phosphorous.
As your chicken roams around your garden and defecates, you will be less likely to need to invest in store-bought fertilizer.
Believe it or not, there are several ways to use chicken manure around your garden and home.
You can even use chicken poop by adding it to your compost pile for later use. Not only will your plants grow better for it, but you’ll save some money too!
However, it is important to mention that if there is too much chicken stool around the garden, it can do more harm than good and create chemical burns to your plants.
If you notice too much stool building up in your garden, it may be time to direct your chicken’s attention to another part of the yard.
How Do Chicken Provide Pest Control?
Natural, chemical-free fertilizer isn’t the only bright side to chicken ownership. They are also a chemical-free solution to garden pests.
When it comes to growing your own food, the idea of using a pesticide on them to get rid of those harmful insects can be more than off-putting.
The less harmful chemicals you use on your edible garden, the better. So, bring out the chickens!
Chickens are omnivores, meaning that they will gladly eat those unwanted pests and plants that are stumping your plants’ growth.
As mentioned in the aerating section, chickens love to scratch and peck at the ground. They will do this to find and eat insects and, in turn, protect your vegetation from harmful insects.
How Do Chickens Provide Weed Control?
Another great perk to your garden is that your chicken is also a great weed suppressor! As omnivores, your chicken is not above snacking on some tasty, otherwise unwanted, garden weeds.
Weeds can at times be invasive and wreak havoc on your garden, killing your chosen vegetation if gone unchecked. Getting rid of weeds can be a challenge, with the use of herbicides readily able to kill your garden plants along with the weeds.
The bright side to letting your chicken roam around your garden is that your chicken will peck and eat the weeds. Not only that, but they will eat weed seeds too, preventing more from growing and taking hold!
What Plants Fare Well in Gardens with Chicken?
Not all garden plants fare well in the presence of chicken, and vice versa.
If you want to make sure that your chicken is neither harmed by the plants you are growing in your garden or that your chicken doesn’t harm your garden plants, it’s essential to pay attention to the types of plants being tended to.
You will want to choose plant vegetation that can withstand their pecking and scratching. Remember, your chicken is an omnivore and won’t stick to eating just the weeds in your garden. The rest of your plants are just as appealing.
Some plants can be poisonous to your chicken, making plant selection in your garden all the more critical.
A few examples of poisonous plants to steer clear from are daffodils, azaleas, trumpet vine, and much more. So, if you have a garden you plan on introducing chicken to, make sure your plants are safe for your chicken to nibble on.
As for plants that can hold up against your chicken’s pecking, nibbling, and scratching, there is a long list of chicken-friendly plants to choose from.
Some of these yummy and durable plants include cucumbers, cabbage, beets, cilantro, rosemary, and much, much more.
As long as your garden has the right type of vegetation to hold up against your chicken’s pecking, the benefits that chicken ownership brings to your garden far outweigh any downsides.
Chemical-free solutions to pest and weed control and healthy soil promotion make the addition of a chicken to your garden a welcomed one.
Backyard chickens can provide you with so much more than fresh eggs, they can also improve your vegetable garden without a lot of effort on your part!