I love having chickens in the garden. I like to have four girls. Four different breeds that lay different colored eggs. They of course all have names and are all spoiled! I can call them and they come running. Or they wait at the gate for me to come to the garden. Fussing at me. They like to help. Scratching, eating weeds and bugs. Turning the compost. Leaving some manure. Only problem, they happen to like cole crops and heirloom tomatoes! The solution is to have 2′ tall chicken wire to temporary fence off newly planted crops and certain ones they like. I use some bean poles to anchor the temporary fence. Once the new crops get up, you can remove the fence. They will go in and eat the hornworms, bean beetles, squash bugs and weed and fertilize!
Lovely companions, always so glad to see you. Make you smile. Some want to be picked up and petted. Wonderful rich delicious YARD EGGS! Once you have had REAL yard eggs, you become a egg snob! These are the eggs from chickens that eat green things and bugs! Store eggs are soooooo anemic and bland.
The biggest problem is keeping them safe. Over the years I have lost chickens to possums, raccoons, fox and hawks. A good fence, with 6 to 12 inches of fence buried and turned out to deter the digging predators. I have found that 12 – 18″ strips of old carpet around the fence and under the gates is helpful. I can’t get a shovel to penetrate it! So claws won’t have much luck. Patrolling your fence line every so often is important. Gaps happen. Locking them up at night is important. Racoons and possums operate at night. However, I have lost most of my chickens during the day to fox. A couple to hawks also. Having some bushes in the garden for them to hid under is a good plan. Just placing tomato cages and bean poles around discourages hawks. They need room to swope. And cannot get the speed up if they have to dodge obstacles.
At this time, I am chickenless. Have to eat store eggs! However, in the garden there is a large box with a chicken house/pen waiting to be put together. Then get the fence secure. Then new chickens.