Specific Question- Chickens that stay grounded

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ChickenJohnny
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Specific Question- Chickens that stay grounded

Post by ChickenJohnny »

Hi everyone,
Sorry for the noob Q, I did poke through the beginning guide but I think this isn't answered there:
I want to introduce chickens into my vineyard's integrated pest management plan, but I am wondering if there are breeds that are flightless, or at least less inclined to jump/flutter up to try to snag grapes. I just want them to keep grubbing around in the soil, scratch up the weed zone, and fertilize. Thanks in advance for any help.
bigyetiman
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Re: Specific Question- Chickens that stay grounded

Post by bigyetiman »

Not sure there are any that stay grounded when faced with something tasty hanging above their heads. They may not be that good at flying but most can get quite high to roost. My Light Sussex are big girls not inclined to fly or bounce about, but once they espy something tasty, they turn into pole vaulters. The Rhode Islands and Maran's are all good flyers
Don't have much experience of some other breeds, which other people will have experience with.
Great idea though to have hens as part of pest control in your vineyard, where is your vineyard ?
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Marigold
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Re: Specific Question- Chickens that stay grounded

Post by Marigold »

I agree about the way chickens will fly up if they see something interesting even once they've come into lay and settled down a bit.
Had you considered Coturnix quails for your pest management programme? I know some aviaries use them on the ground level. They're mostly ground-living little birds that could look after themselves more than chickens, (they don't need a coop to roost in at night, just shelters around the area) They do fly upwards if startled but I don't think they'd go for your grapes. Where they're happy they will breed. Easy and cheap to hatch your own, and they start laying eggs at 6-10 weeks old.

Where do you live? Another good alternative is hedgehogs if there are any locally. You can't buy them, but can attract them with the right food and conditions.
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rick
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Re: Specific Question- Chickens that stay grounded

Post by rick »

They are very canny about what will support their weight to try to perch on. When my brown hybrids were flying up to land on the fence top (and looking through the neighbours window which they found hilarious!) A washing line 4 inches above the fence line totally put them off trying. Not sure that helps in any way - they would just leap up and pluck them, not much actual flying involved.
I dont suppose it would be like working in a chocolate factory - chickens getting fed up with grapes - not likely! But then they would also have fantastic opportunities scratching around on the ground so maybe, just maybe the number of grapes going missing would be insignificant in comparison to the benefits... Or maybe you would have no grapes and very contented looking chickens!
MrsBiscuit
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Re: Specific Question- Chickens that stay grounded

Post by MrsBiscuit »

Big fat orpingtons can leap and flutter the necessary 3ft to get to raspberries, or low hanging apples/plums etc. On that basis I should think any chook could get to anything. Orps can clear a 4ft electric fence when necessary, although they don't think its necessary very often!
ChickenJohnny
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Re: Specific Question- Chickens that stay grounded

Post by ChickenJohnny »

Thanks everyone. We do have bird nets around the fruit zone, so perhaps they wouldn't see the grapes through the fine mesh when they ripen and turn from green to red. The nets were fantastic at protecting the fruit from native and migratory birds the last two years. For the two who asked, my vineyards are in central New Jersey, east coast of the United States.
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