How to Grow a Chicken Garden
If you are looking for ways to save money with your backyard chickens, then this post on how to grow a chicken garden is the list you need. Get the best fruits, vegetables, and more that you can plant and grow for your flock to enjoy all year long.
Raising chickens in your backyard can be done with a little ingenuity and planning so you can be more self sufficient on your homestead.
Growing a chicken garden can be beneficial for both you and your chickens. A chicken garden can provide plenty of nutrients for your chickens that will mimic their natural diet and it will create a healthier flock that provides better tasting eggs.
And if you already grow a backyard garden, then adding food that your chickens will love is an easy thing to do.
The best part of a garden full of food your chickens will love is it will help you save on chicken feed.
4 Great Reasons for Growing a Chicken Garden
Even though I already mentioned a list of benefits I would like to talk more on the top four.
1. Offers a healthy diet
Chickens enjoy a varied diet including fruits and vegetables, grains, and seeds. But offering those foods other than an occasional treat can be incredibly costly. That is where a garden conveniently comes into play.
A chicken garden allows you to provide them with a more complete diet that includes vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. And a more complete diet leads to better tasting eggs with vibrant yolks and nice strong shells.
2. Saves money
While it may seem like a good idea to get chickens so you can have fresh eggs whenever you want, most people don’t consider the cost. In addition to building or buying a coop and providing fresh bedding, chickens also need plenty of food and those costs can quickly add up.
One of the easiest ways to cut down on expenses is to grow your own food for them. While you can create a large garden, it’s not absolutely necessary. A few plants that provide large and healthy crops like tomatoes, squash, and sunflowers will provide plenty of nutrients without a lot of expense and hassle.
SLCG Pro Tip: No room for a garden? No worries! You can grow your entire garden in a collection of straw bales. YES! This is how we grow our entire garden every year and we love how easy it is. Find out more here!
3. Herbs provide more than just nutrients
Herbs are not only a healthy for your chickens to eat, they help to keep their environment clean and healthy. For instance, mint provides nutrients that are good for egg production as well as providing respiratory health for the chickens. And basil is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and boosts immunity. Oregano helps to fight parasites and infections.
You can mix herbs into their food as well and mixing dried or fresh herbs into their dust bath or add stems or pieces in their nesting boxes.
4. Feeds your family too
A backyard garden can not only benefit your chickens but also provide delicious produce and herbs for your table. Grow a few extra plants, harvest them for your family to enjoy, and feed the cuttings and scraps to your chickens.
This will not only save money on produce for your family but for your chicken’s feed as well. And, you all enjoy the health benefits.
Now that you’re convinced that you need to grow a chicken garden, the question becomes . . . what to plant? There are a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and grains that will benefit your chickens and also provide a nice harvest for your family.
If your planting area is small, choose plants that grow well together and need the same kind of soil, water, and sun. This will help whatever you plant to benefit and provide a healthy harvest.
What to Plant in a Chicken Garden
If you already grow things that are on this list then you can double up what you plant so you have enough for your chickens to enjoy.
If not, you can make a short list of 3-5 new plants to grow this year and add more as you go along.
For each item listed below that is underlined you can click it and be taken to a step by step how to plant, grow and harvest. Bookmark each page so you can return whenever you need a refresh on growing your vegetables.
· Bok Choy
· Swiss Chard
· Squashes including Butternut, Acorn, Summer Squash, Zucchini, and Pumpkin
Read: How to Grow Herbs Step by Step
Seeds & Grain:
Are there plants that are toxic to chickens?
When planning your chicken garden there are a few plants to avoid because they are toxic to your chickens.
Chicken Garden Tips
· Avoid feeding your chickens any fruit, vegetable, or herb that has mildew or mold. A basic rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t feed it to the chickens.
· Avoid dry beans. If you grow beans in your garden, cook them before feeding them to the chickens.
· Plant some perennials that will continue to come back every growing season. It will make gardening much easier for you.
· Herbs and berries are great perennials that will not only come back every year, but grow better each year.
· Let your chickens play with their food. Leafy greens can be combined into a veggie ball that will not only provide your chicken with nutrients but also entertainment. Keeping your chickens entertained will reduce any sort of destructive behavior including bullying.
· Don’t let your chickens into the garden until everything is in bloom. If they roam in your garden too early, they’ll nibble at the seeds, seedlings, and sprouts which will keep your garden from growing.
· Chickens can safely enjoy roaming in an established garden and it’s even a good idea to let them roam in the garden after you’ve harvested everything. They’ll clean everything up for the next season by eating weeds and insects. They’ll even leave behind some natural fertilizer!
· Enjoy the garden and don’t let yourself become too consumed with it. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Even if you only grow weeds, there are plenty of weeds that chickens love to eat and they’ll also enjoy any bugs that take up residence.
· Don’t make drastic changes in the feeding habits of your chickens. This can cause illness. Instead, start introducing items from the garden into the food they already eat. Just a little at first then continue adding more items from the garden as they adjust.
Growing a chicken garden doesn’t have to be overcomplicated or a lot of work. Grow produce that your family will enjoy that you can also feed your chickens.
No matter how big or how small the garden, providing fresh produce and herbs will be beneficial to your chicken’s health and save money on feeding costs.