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Adding fungi to mulch under fruit tree's to prevent chickens from scratching it away.

 
Marie Shipp
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My husband listened to a podcast a while back with Joel Salatin and he mentioned something about a certain type of fungi that he would put in his mulch that would turn the mulch into a mat that the chickens couldn't disturb. My chickens are driving my husband mad, scratching away all his mulch from his trees. I've searched online, he can't remember which podcast it was, I can't find any info about that. If anyone has an idea please share. Thanks, Marie
 
William James
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Location: Northern Italy
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Having the same problem on one tree. My tactic so far is to mulch the hell out of it in hopes that the cumulative effect is a raised soil layer, even with chickens scratching. I already have a fence to protect a radius of about 50 cm, but I can see the roots, so it's not enough. Enlarge the radius and they'll jump right over.

My chickens love mushrooms, so it would probably have to be one nasty mushroom.
William
 
Marie Shipp
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Yeah, they need more mulch, he didn't put enough down. The fungi wasn't to make it taste bad, but somehow they kinda "glue" all the wood chips into a hard mat. I'm telling this 2nd hand, so probably getting some of it wrong.
 
William James
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Have you thought of rocks? Of course if you have a lot of trees, that won't be feasible. But if you have under 5 trees and a lot of fist sized rocks lying around, it's definitely do-able.
My strategy would be this:
-put down chip or leaf or grass mulch around tree.
-put rocks down as mulch around tree, covering surface.
-wait for weeds to grow through rocks.
-weed and remove rocks, put into pile beside tree.
-wait for chickens to scratch it all up.
-repeat.

It's a little heavy on the work side, but it would fix most problems I come across when trying to save a few trees. If you have a lot of trees, you might think of fencing the chickens out of that area.
William
 
Dan Tutor
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My chickens love to scratch up most mycelium they find, but I don't know the salatin reference.
 
William James
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I would almost bet that there is no myco in the world that is tough enough to gel woodchips together and take on a chicken talon for very long.
Unless you have chickens who just don't like to scratch very much.
William
 
Alder Burns
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I've used sticks and branches and coarse stalks of all sorts, the branchier and pricklier the better, laid down atop the other mulch around the trees. Even things like dead eggplant and pepper plants. Many situations have a surplus of stuff like this, with only a few uses (such as huge beds and fuel) without going to the energy use and infrastructure to chip or shred them. The one thing to beware of is, particularly in winter in severe climates with snow, is that these mini brush piles can provide cover for rodents which will likely chew on the tender bark of the trees. Little scraps of fencing, wire, coathangers, and such like will also work, though won't look as "natural".
 
John Alabarr
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I love it when my chickens scratch the mulch under my fruit and nut trees. What I do is whenever I cut a tree or branches, I put 2-3 foot log sections in a ring around the trees. Then I put the mulch in the ring. The logs act like a corral for the mulch.
 
Zach Muller
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Since my whole garden is mulched it seems like the chickens do not really focus around the trees. If I have something I have seeded or is fragile I will do as alder suggests and use sticks or stems to block chickens scratching, does the trick.

Also if you sealed your mulch together with something wouldn't that cause water to run off rather than soak in?
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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