I am wanting to plant hedges around my raised beds to keep my hens out when I let them into this area for an hour or so in the evening while I am out there working in the garden. I already have a tight row of lavender in front of one bed and am planning on potentilla for another wall on a side of my raised bed. Wondering what might be edible that would be tight and keep them out...
I used to let my chickens into the garden an hour or so before dusk. They'd go through looking for bugs and then go nest. I rarely had any damage to my plants or produce with that exposure and I had far less bug pressure. They don't like slugs much, though.
A piece of land is worth as much as the person farming it.
-Le Livre du Colon, 1902
Yes, I was thinking that. But it also depends on if I have young plant starts or seeds in there. I was going to plant hedge on three sides of raised beds and then have some fencing I can place over small opening to keep them out if I wish. Glad to know you do this as well!
I remember privet being mentioned in "Tree Crops - A Permanent Agriculture" as a good food source for chickens, but i cannot find the page now. Seeing how productive and dense a privet hedge can be, it could work well.
Mine like comfrey & mustard, but will eat them to the ground if the plants are small. Berry shrubs, like beautyberry & goji also seem to be popular with the birds. My flock will also browse roses, Althea, Nandina, Barbados & Nanking cherries, as well as dwarf pomegranate for bugs, leaves, blooms & seeds.
I was thinking privet was poisonous to chickens so will have to look into that. I forgot to say that I prefer this hedge around raised bed to be no taller than 4 feet. Roses may be good. I didn't think of chickens eating roses. The right type of rose might make a tight shorter hedge.
On an old property I once had a quince hedge. It was maybe 6' tall. The chickens loved it. They ate the leaves and fruit alike, and rummaged the leaf litter for bugs. It was good cover for them. They also love mulberry, leaves and all, but that might be bigger than you want.
I'd look for something that gets the size you want, doesn't seed/spread like crazy, and produces edible leaves and/or fruit. Any and all berry bushes of the culinary varieties will work, too. Blues and black, or a raspberry stand would work. Jerusalem artichokes work well if you want something perennial. They'll eat the leaves and young shoots, and also pick at the roots if they manage to dig them up.
I found the part in the second edition of tree crops, "W H Mills, professor of rural sociology at clemson college, south carolina, called my attention to the privet. he said 'it is commonly used with us as a hedge plant, but after birds scattered the seeds it is found growing wild. For some years i have been feeding my chivkens in increasing quantities, as i have found no ill effects fromits continued use. The chickens began to eat the seed as soon as they ripen. Such is the abundance of the crop that the seeds usually hang on the trees until the middlr of February or March when the cedar waxwing birds in the migration north stop long enough to clean the trees. I believe that we can have at practically no cost a supply of poultry feed for two or three months duringthe winter from this source. I am enclosing an analysis which i got from the chemist of the south carolina experimental station to make some two or three years ago.'"
Acetylsalicylic acid is aspirin. This could be handy too:
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