Got poultry? Here’s how, with the proper strategies, your chickens, geese, ducks and other backyard fowl can benefit your garden!
Many gardeners also have some backyard livestock, such as chickens. (If you don’t, feel free to share this article with someone you know who does!) But sometimes we don’t always put two and two together and realize how much your garden and your poultry can help each other out.
Not only can chickens, ducks, and geese provide a great source of healthy, fresh eggs and/or meat when fed on garden scraps, but they can also help you grow a better garden!
Here are some helpful tips for enriching your soil, getting rid of garden pests, and growing a great garden with the help of backyard poultry:
Chickens are the most popular backyard fowl, and they are very useful in the garden. Chickens love bugs and grubs and will help keep many pests at bay.
…In a vegetable garden it’s a good idea to fence off some of the more tasty vegetables, such as tomato plants, as you might come out to find your fruit eaten along with the insects.
Where chickens really come into their own in the garden is turning your soil either before, or after you harvest. If you spread some manure around to enrich your soil, your chickens will happily work through it, moving the nutrients around your garden space…
Everybody poops, and chicken’s droppings are particularly rich in nitrogen… Even if you don’t keep your hens in the garden, you can compost the droppings from each clean of their coop, and use that to bed down your garden every year.
Ducks are also garden helpers. Like chickens, they love eating insects and bugs, and unlike chickens they will even chow down on the largest and scariest of creepy crawlies…
Unfortunately, like chickens, ducks will happily munch on tasty greens. Again, fencing off areas (especially when your plants are young) will help protect them from hungry ducks… Duck droppings are also useful…
…Unlike ducks and chickens, geese are mostly herbivores. They won’t eat bugs, but they do love weeds…
Of course, since geese love all tender green shoots, they can decimate a garden patch. The first rule is to make sure your plants are mature before you let the geese into the garden. Keep an eye on them, or use them to weed crops that they don’t like. Geese will weed strawberries, bushes, and orchards without paying any attention to the crop plants…
Guinea Fowl…can wreak havoc on your tick population… And quail eat bugs and don’t scratch as much as chickens, and because of their small size they aren’t as likely to eat your vegetables.