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When is a free-range chicken a bad, naughty chicken?

Come closer, dear students, and the Damsel will tell you.

The Damsel lets her chickens run loose in her large fenced yard, eating mosquitoes and possibly earwigs. For this hope alone, it’s worth the risk they pose to the garden plants. They do like to peck and tear at the tender leaves. But although most of the plants have managed to grow faster than the chickens can peck them down, there is one sad row in the Damsel’s garden.

Behold the chicken devastation.

This was once a happy little row of beets. The Damsel had hoped for a few meals of beet greens as the plants were thinned, and then the rest would be ultimately pickled as shown in this post: Pickled Beets. But the greens have been pretty thoroughly whittled…maybe they’ll recover a bit, but hopes of beet greens are sinking low. Who knows if there is enough left of the tops to support growth of the beetroots?

Yes, the plants could have been covered with netting and thus saved from being pecked to within an inch of their little lives. But with the other, earlier-planted veggies, the chickens pecked at them rather half-heartedly, lulling us to believe they weren’t going to do any serious damage. Then the beets were planted. Before we knew it, the Beetgreen Devouring Festival had begun and it was all everlastingly too late.

Thank goodness the chickens didn’t kill the tomato plants. If that had happened, the Damsel just isn’t sure what measures she’d be required to take. She hopes she will never be asked to choose between tomatoes and eggs. Some choices are just too awful to contemplate.

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  • Calicocat2

    Ha!  Tomatoes? Eggs?….tough choice.
    Maybe you can figure a way to plant some beets just for the chickens and fence off your share (haha..with chicken wire).

    • Anonymous

      LOL! Who knew the silly things would fixate on the beets. There are plenty of other green things in the yard…why beets? I guess I’ll never know.

  • Oh, that is funny, we have had chickens, they were a little mean and tried to peck my little 3 year old.

    • Anonymous

      Now that’s a bad chicken!

  • Kristl Story

    Beets are not my favorite veggie, so I’d thank your chickens!

    • Anonymous

      You know, I don’t like them either, but my family LOVES them. WHY????

    • Anonymous

      You know, I don’t like them either, but my family LOVES them. WHY????

  • Oh, I love beets so they would be bad free range chickens to me. I can imagine what they must have looked like – thinking all their Sunday’s had come at one. But perhaps Sundays aren’t good for chickens…;-)

  • those are some naughty chickens. I would be upset with them too

  • The ONLY plant around here that is chicken “safe” is asparagus. No more hostas, clematis, pears, peaches and so on.

    The asparagus bed now doubles as the lightly shaded dust bath, and they keep the weeds to a minimum.  It’s a win/win situation.

    • Anonymous

      I wonder why they don’t eat the asparagas. Silly chickens! Did they really kill off a peach or pear tree? Goodness!

  • My durn chickens have been doing the same thing…but I appreciate the “weeding” elsewhere….  I try to throw scratch where I want them to weed and am trying to overplant vegetables in the hopes that there is enough for us, them and the groundhog.  We shall see…..

    • Anonymous

      Durn chickens is right! Grrr!