gnm wrote:How destructive are chickens to a garden? Is it reasonable to consider letting them have then run of it for a while in summer to knock down bugs or will they tear the place up and damage the produce? How high of a fence around said garden would you need to keep them from getting out (providing you were planning on rounding them up and putting them back into a fully enclosed coop/run that evening?
Any advice appreciated,
We never had problems with free range and the garden, our problem was road traffic and/or our dogs having a bad day and chasing one down.
If you are going to have an open top fence I recomend 6 foot high and clip the flight feather on ONE WING ONLY. If you clip both wings they can actually do a hop liftoff and flap like mad to make it over a 6 foot fence, as long as you only clip one wing they can not get balanced in the air and cant fly over a few inch up before they tumble back to Earth. In the natural wild Chickens are tree fowl, they don't migrate but they do fly short burst distances and usually get up hopping around tree branches if you have one availible and they aren't clipped.