I'm really new to this. I have a garden, but slugs are a big problem here. I read that chickens eat slugs, but I also read that chickens eat plants. Well, I want the chickens to eat the slugs, but not my plants. Any suggestions?
I think everyone should have chickens! Whether they eat your plants or not rather depends upon what you have growing. You will need a way to keep them out of the garden when seedlings are sprouting, for example. They will also require predator-proof housing at night. However, if they free range most of the time, your feed bills will be minimal, and' hey, "free" fresh eggs!
Thank you for your reply.
Keeping them away from the garden when seedlings are sprouting or young plants are there, is no option. The slugs eat those seedlings/young plants and if there are no chickens in the garden to eat the slugs, chickens won't be very helpful in that case.
I guess you would just need to watch to see whether they preferred escargot or salad. They would bear watching anyway as chickens love to scratch and dust-bathe in soft earth. Around here the slugs seem to be out at night when the chickens are in. Maybe offering the slugs beer to drown their sorrows (and more) in might be a better option, - but I still think you need some chickens!
I love my chickens, but they have absolutely destroyed every blade of grass in my backyard. I was looking the other day at some videos I took of my partridge silkies when they were babies and I had the most beautiful green grass. All I have now is rocks and sticks and bare ground. Sorry, but that is the truth of it.
Sounds like you need to find a good natural way to remove slugs. lol
Chickens are really awesome creatures though. So fun and relaxing. I'm just warning you though what they can do to plants.
As far as free eggs. My feed bill is about $10 a week to feed my chickens, plus they get all my leftovers. I never spent that much on eggs in my life. Still, I enjoy my chickens so much and have no intention of getting rid of them.
I would like to lock them up for a few years though, or move them and get some grass to grow again. BAD CHICKENS! Why are they so cute?
Chickens and sprouts don't mix. We used to let our chickens into the garden in the winter, to eat up all of the cutworms and other pests. However when we changed the layout of our garden to include semi-permanent 18" paths between 30" rows we had to stop because they would have totally destroyed the layout, scratching up the wood chips on the paths and distributing them over the rows. I know this because they got out a couple of times early on and did a lot of destruction before I saw them at it.
Guinea hens also don't play well with veggie gardens. They're not supposed to do this, but ours seemed to love bean blossoms and other flowering types, so I never got any harvest when we had them. And they fly, so even if you try to keep them penned up they can easily escape.
Thank you Light_for_Jesus and greenhouse_gal for your replies.
It's clear to me now that having chickens will damage my garden also. Although I like chickens, I don't want them to ruin (parts of) my garden. And I will never keep animals locked up. I would only keep them protected for the night, because we have foxes and other animals that eat chickens.
Well, have to find another solution against the slugs
Our chickens have a large pasture to run in, but they do get locked up in the coop at night.
I still think beer would help with the slugs. Or, if you don't mind putting up some fencing, when we lived in Washington State slugs were a huge problem, so we built a duck run around the garden; the ducks couldn't get into the veggies to damage them, but they loved the slugs. Any slug that tried to make a dash for the garden got eaten. It worked really well.