Bird Feeders in the Chicken Yard – Who Knew?

I’ve solved a long standing, very annoying problem in my landscape.  I’m in an old urban neighborhood with lots of mature trees.  With those trees, of course, come squirrels.

Yes, I know they’re cute and I know they’re one of God’s creatures.   I wouldn’t harm one; I just want them to keep their distance from parts of my property.

They dig in plant pots looking for food, yanking out the rightful inhabitants by their roots; they overturn, steal from, and break bird feeders regularly.   They chew their way into the attic and throw parties early in the morning.  I’m no fan, not at all.

On the other hand, I enjoy attracting birds into my gardens.  I’ve earned the designation of Certified Wildlife Habitat issued by the National Wildlife Federation by creating a wildlife-friendly environment.  I supplement the food the birds find on their own with seeds in feeders, year round.  Many feeders are hyped as squirrel proof; few really are.  The little devils find a way, knocking them to the ground if all else fails.

Now that I have chickens, most of my squirrel problems are solved, with some side benefits to boot.  In addition to the coop, I’ve given the hens grazing rights to about a quarter of my fenced in edible garden.

In utter frustration, after picking up yet another spilled feeder a month or so ago, I put a few shepherd’s hooks in the chicken’s area and hung the bird feeders there to see what would happen.

 

Well, that has turned out to be the magic bullet!  The birds are comfortable with the chickens and their feeders stay more reliably filled.  The squirrels stay away because of the chickens.  The chickens love to snack on the seeds/shells that fall on the ground and because they do, I get none of the weedy sprouting that normally takes place under the feeders.  

With no waste, I save a lot on bird seed, a little on chicken feed, and most of what the hens eat, of course, ends up nourishing next year’s garden by way of the compost I make with their manure.

That’s what’s called stacking functions, which simply means using one thing to serve more than one purpose.  I couldn’t be happier.

A win for everybody.   Well, almost everybody……

 

This entry was posted in Bird Feeders, Bird Seed, Birds, Chickens, Garden, Squirrels, Stacking Functions, Tree and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Bird Feeders in the Chicken Yard – Who Knew?

  1. Laura D. says:

    I have about 27 chickens grazing my acre wooded lot. I wonder why I never get any fruit from my peach tree if squirrels are indeed uncomfortable with roaming hens? I’ve netted the tree, even bagged each fruit in either a plastic bag or nylon stocking. I’ve never tasted one peach! Any ideas?

    • Laura says:

      Hi Laura –
      How maddening! My area is very small compared to yours. I’m sure your squirrels feel much more comfortable on an acre with 27 hens than here in a 20 x 50ft area with my 7.
      I have a peach tree that should be bearing fruit next year, so perhaps I’ll be having similar issues. Are you sure it’s squirrels eating the peaches? Could it be birds? Or something nocturnal like raccoons? Your chickens come in at night, I assume? The closer it is to the house (civilization), too, the easier it would be to manage something like that.
      Laura

  2. Becca says:

    Fantastic!!

  3. Jean says:

    Who knew is right! I would never have expected those pesky squirrels to be intimidated by chickens. Hmm; maybe I should consider chickens.

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