Birds that won’t damage the garden

Gold Brahma hens

Gold Brahma hens - Credit: Archant

Do birds with feathered legs and feet do less damage to borders?

Q: I only have a small garden but would like to keep three or four hens. I have heard that birds with feathered legs and feet do less damage to borders. Is this true and if so what breeds do you think I should go for?

Charlotte Popescu says: It is true that breeds with feathered legs and feet find it more difficult to scratch up earth and dig up plants so, in theory, you should have your precious plants and borders left pretty much intact. You could go for Pekins which are ubiquitous so very easy to source as most breeders will keep them. Pekins are true bantams so not available in a larger size. Brahmas however can be large fowl or bantams. You could consider a couple of large Brahmas; they will look spectacular, and, being big with feathered feet, move quite slowly and will certainly not fly out of your garden! Brahma bantams are very sweet and because they are smaller you could have three or four. Gold Brahmas are a popular colour; they also make a good sized bantam and lay quite well with reasonably sized eggs. Sablepoots (Dutch booted bantams) are another idea but they are small in size so eggs will be equally tiny.