Poultry In The Orchard

Kindly advise me about keeping hens in an orchard. I would like to know

if they will injure the trees in any way if kept in large numbers. In

what way would they benefit the trees?

From the point of view of the trees there is no doubt that they would be

advantaged by the presence of the poultry, providing the coops are not

allowed to interfere with the proper irrigation and cultivation. If it

is practicable to handle the fowls in coops without causing the soil

around the coops to become compacted by continual tramping, and if they

are not kept upon the ground long enough to cause an excessive

application of hen manure, which is very concentrated and stimulating,

the result would unquestionably be beneficial. From the point of view of

the tree, this benefit of injury would depend upon how long the fowls

were kept around the tree and the maintenance of them in such a way that

the soil should not become out of condition physically or too rich

chemically for the satisfactory performance of the tree. If they can be

moved frequently, and if they are only put in place when the soil is in

such condition that tramping around the coops will not seriously compact

it, the presence of fowls would be an advantage. On the other hand, if

the coops are to be kept in place for a long time and all the ground

outside of them crusted and hardened by tramping and the soil under the

coops overloaded with droppings, the thrift and value of the trees will

be seriously interfered with.

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