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Chicken supported food forest with currants and gooseberries as under story.

 
Berry Buiten
Posts: 40
Location: Netherlands
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Hi there!

Its been a while since I posted here, but I'm gonna give it a go.

I've been working on the design for my allotment garden and I have at this point an area sectioned off for the chickens to inhabit and where hopefully I'll plant (more) fruit trees. The 'problem' that I have at this point is that there is already a very well established amount of black and red currants and also some gooseberries. I was hoping to convert part or the whole of the food forest into a chicken forage/run as well, for all the well know benefits. I am just scared that these yummy berries are going to be taken by the chickens, which would suck because I hope to harvest from them as well!

So, the question is: Do chickens combine with currants if the human in this triangle would like to eat currants also?

If they do not combine and would leave the whole shrub bare, would you think moving them to the side of the fence is okay? I was thinking that I would then walk around the chicken coop and reach over the fence to get to my currants, this way they get some of the currants still and the currants could easily be manured but I don't have to worry about a berry famine (as you might'v guessed by now, I love my berries )

With regards,
Berry
 
Terri Matthews
Posts: 468
Location: Eastern Kansas
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When my parents had grapes and chickens, the chickens ate every grape they could reach! And, they could jump pretty high to get the upper ones! So, I would think it better to plant the berries outside the chicken yard, or they will eat both the berries and the leaves as well! (Chickens eat grass and leaves like we eat salad: YUM! My Mom did not lose grape leaves to chickens only because they also had grass to pick over)
 
Joe Hoffman
Posts: 16
Location: Shenandoah Co., VA USA
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If I knew anything about selective breeding, I'd create a breed of chickens that doesn't like fruit.
 
Berry Buiten
Posts: 40
Location: Netherlands
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Thanks for the thoughts! I did think it might be like that. I am now considering putting the berries up on a hugelbed. Both for easy access and water retention. Anyone else care to give an opinion?
 
Irene Kightley
pollinator
Pie
Posts: 382
Location: South West France
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I have about 40 chickens, 11 ducks and 2 turkeys with access to our food forest but they have almost 2 acres to amuse themselves in. I think it depends on how big you garden is and how much interesting food they can forage.

The worst damage they've ever done is to almost destroy all the comfrey but I now cover it in the spring and once there's enough for them to eat elsewhere I take the covers off and they don't touch it.

Their water containers are right under the blackcurrant bushes, not far from the raspberries and a lot of other delicious stuff. I've just harvested a great crop of blackcurrants and made jam and crème de cassis.

(The large black water containers are upside down because we've got ducklings at the moment and if they go in there they may drown.)



Plant names here (Photo taken from another angle) :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/25918339@N00/4827896649/in/photolist-8mCetp

Irene
 
Berry Buiten
Posts: 40
Location: Netherlands
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Thanks for the response. I will have a limited amount of chickens on an area probably the size of 150 to 200 square meters I guess (that is a guestimation). It will have several different fruit trees on it. Also, I will use a chicken tractor to rotate my chickens through my veggie garden to use their weed and pest control abilities. The thing is that if I want them to do their work effectively, they should be out of the veggie garden exactly around the time when the berries start to come into fruit...
Maybe it might be an idea to separate the forest garden into two? One with and one without berries? That way I could hop them over into the bit without when the berries start to fruit and put them back once the berries have mostly been harvested.

Thanks for the feedback though. We'll see where this goes.
 
Berry Buiten
Posts: 40
Location: Netherlands
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Hey, thanks for your replies everyone. I was wondering whether this topic could be moved to the chickens forum? I might get some extra input from the chooks folks that hang out there
I wanna know for sure before I start digging up and relocating lots all kinds of berries.

Thanks and a big hug,
Berry
 
Angelika Maier
Posts: 698
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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Chicken are pretty destructive and scratch unless they have a lot of space. And my experience tells that duck eat a lot too. I suggest that you build a chicken tractor and move it every few days. Don't build it too big otherwise it's difficult to move, better build two anyway you will need a separate tractor in case you are breeding.
 
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