Xericstyle

Xeric and stylish gardening in San Antonio, Texas

Chickens are rakes with wings…

oh yes they are ….mass destruction and garden chaos.

I have not done a ton to the back yard yet, but I am working on it area by area.  Remember my side yard?

narrow side yard before

Nasty side yard BEFORE.Bamboo muhly/color guard yucca comboSIDE YARD AFTER! Ahhhhhh done – onto the next project.

Bamboo muhly grass - newspaper mulchI like to use newspaper several layers thick under my mulch as an organic weed barrier.  Works great!  Until….

shredded paper…chickens shred everything to smitherines.  The entire bed looks like this.  My son yelled, “Mommy, come quick…there is money all over the yard!”  I got excited for a minute – until I saw this.

scratch and peckNo boundaries! How rude! ;)

Poor little color guard yuccaPoor little color guard yucca…I think it got sat on.  Yep, they also used my big bulbine as a nest.  No manners.

You get the idea…SHEER UTTER DESTRUCTION.

The point is this – be prepared!  We let our hens free range all over the yard, and if you are outside with them, that is fine.  They listen, they interact, you can whistle and they move out of where you don’t want them.  You can also herd them to where you do want them.  When they rake under the hedges for you and leave a nice line of leaves, this is a positive!  There are many many gardening positives – no more buying chicken poop fertilizer for one.  When you see them eating white grubs that is pretty awesome too.

I have come up with a happy medium and I built a fence for a chicken yard this weekend so that when those “little rakes”, as we now call them, are unsupervised, they still have a large space to free range.  And when we want to let them out into the main yard to hang out with them, we SUPERVISE those little stinkers!

After all, you can’t be mad at them for being what they are.  You just have to be prepared and know what you are getting into.  Lucky for me, my backyard is virtually a blank slate still – I can fix the damage they did rather easily.  But if you have an extensive garden, or yard that is tickety-boo, and you want chickens, be prepared or think twice.  When you are prepared, they are the easiest little pets ever.  They really are.  Having chickens is a lot of fun, and continues to be a learning experience we all enjoy…especially our kids.

NEXT UP: How to build a cedar stave and hog panel fence that is rustic yet modern.

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