Gardening is one of the oldest hobbies, and it is often the first thing people will try when they decide to pick up healthy habits and adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. In the same spirit, people raise chickens as livestock and pets. They can liven up the day and be a source of protein for your diet, manure to your garden, and of course, entertainment. Now that we have mentioned gardening and raising chickens, you might be thinking about doing both. You might be wondering if you can raise chickens while also growing a garden and not have the former destroy the latter.
How To Keep Chickens Out Of Gardens? There are different ways you can keep chickens out of gardens like Reduce the Number of Chickens 2. Safeguard Your Vegetation 3. Use Chicken Wire 4. Supervise Their Leisure Time 5. Plant Strategically 6. Fence Your Garden 7. Using Weeds 8. A Space Just for Chickens! 9. Don’t Disregard Your Neighbors.
Here are a few insights that would prepare you to do both while avoiding any trouble.
Firstly, know that pet chickens eat up all the vegetation in yards because they have too many chickens for the space being used to keep them. When you have many chickens, you also need a lot of space for them to move about and a lot of food. That space can’t be your garden because they will wreck it while finding things to eat.
If your chickens are eating your plants and making your garden a muddy mess, then first consider reducing the chickens. Limit the number of chickens to groups of five or fewer hens or chickens if you have limited space.
Bigger gardens or fields can hold more groups. You will need to give the chickens an area for moving around and stomping with their feet that is separate from your garden.
Chickens are known for peeking around and exploring. If they enter your garden, they will first meander in it and then start pecking at the plants and eating them. If you want to keep your garden and your chickens, you need to keep a distance between them.
You can create this distance and stop chickens from damaging your garden by employing specific strategies. However, before proceeding further, you should learn some insights about their behavior and the experience of raising chickens.
- Chickens ‘feather-peck’ one another when they can’t move around and feel bored. Distracting the chickens using toys and treats won’t work since the problem is due to them being confined to a coop. You should remove the chicken pecking the most from the group and increase the area you have provided to the chickens.
- There are sprays available for sale that are advertised to stop chickens from pecking but don’t work. All they do is make everything they are sprayed on stink.
- You will enjoy eating fresh, tasty eggs.
- Chickens are quick with their beaks. If they come close to vegetables in your garden, they will chomp a good chunk out of them in a matter of a few minutes.
- Kids love playing with chickens and holding them. However, the chickens can peck their hands out of habit while being held. So, make sure they are wearing gloves while feeding them or collecting eggs.
- If you don’t clean out the coop at least once a week, the smell becomes really unpleasant. Missing cleaning for a week will result in the chicken area smelling rank. Make sure you’re keeping up with the cleaning duties; otherwise, it can make breathing difficult for you and your neighbors.
- You’ll have a hard time getting your chickens back in their coop after letting them out. Chickens have the speed to evade any attempts to capture them. We recommend that you assess the coop and the chicken area and create a strategy accordingly. Otherwise, you’ll be spending hours running after chickens and trying to grab them.
- Watching your chickens peck about on the grass can be calming after a long day. They love to explore and move about in an amusing way.
- You have to watch out for their talons and avoid getting scratched! Make sure you are wearing gloves so they can’t hurt you with their claws.
- Chickens love to eat slugs and can clean the soil for you. They are a good organic pest control solution that you can use before starting your garden.
You may check, Best insecticide for vegetable garden.
How To Keep Chickens Out Of Gardens (9 Ways)
The best way to manage chickens is by trying out different techniques. You’ll be able to identify methods that work to keep chickens out of your garden through trial and error. Below are some proven strategies that you can try as well.
1. Reduce the Number of Chickens
Have a good idea about how much space you have for keeping chickens and your garden. Know how many chickens you can keep based on the square footage of the area you have assigned them for running around.
Most people get more chickens than what the allotted area can accommodate, causing problems such as over-foraging, barrenness, and excessive chicken feces all over the place. Take care of this issue before it leads to these issues.
We recommend that you add eight to ten feet of space in your outdoor pen for every regular-sized chicken. If you are opting for free-ranging, then go beyond your estimates since it requires a lot of space. If you are living in town, you will have much less space for your chickens to range than if you were in a suburban or rural area.
Be mindful of this, and strongly adhere to the number of chickens per space sanctions for best results. Reduce the number of chickens if your space can’t accommodate a large flock. It may be difficult to let go of some chickens, but you could make good use of them for your next dinner party.
2. Safeguard Your Vegetation
Chickens absolutely ruined my plants the first year we had them. They love to hop into large fruit trees and herb pots and push all the surface soil to the ground.
We discovered that surrounding plants with rocks stop chickens from damaging them. You can even place them in an artful arrangement that adds some beauty and give your garden an aesthetic look.
3. Use Chicken Wire
Installing a chicken wire around your garden will protect your plants from being attacked by chickens. The wire typically available has a hexagonal mesh. For tall plants, using the rock method would be sufficient.
However, smaller plants like herbs may need more safety and protection. Hence, wrapping a length of chicken wire or hardware cloth around the pot and using sticks to support it will keep the chickens out.
Alternatively, you can insert thin dowels or stakes into the soil on the perimeter of the pot, much like a fence, and wrap string or twine around the barrier to keep the chickens from leaping into the plants’ pots and eating the crops.
You can look into using a colored twine that makes the chicken blockade a bit beautiful.
4. Supervise Their Leisure Time
You need to give your chickens some time to stretch their legs, so to speak, much like how prisoners get time in the yard. If you have free time on your hands, stay with the chickens when they are out, keeping keep a close eye on their movement.
You can relax and be entertained while watching your chickens move about and being free for the one to two hours they are outside their coop!
For an unfenced garden, you would have to sit on the back porch every day and monitor the chickens as they roam about. If they come close to your garden, you need to intervene and physically move them out, or you can spray the hose near them to shoo them away.
See if you can dedicate a chunk of time to this. With time, life might take over, and you might not have the time to keep an eye on chickens.
5. Plant Strategically
Planting your garden out of their sight and a direct path will help cut down on poultry feeding in your garden. Setting up the garden in the front of the property and keeping the chickens in the back will drastically cut down on problems.
Similarly, Placing a fence in between the front and back yard will also help to keep the chickens out.
Another tactic you can use to keep the birds out of your herb garden is to elevate it so it is not in their view. Your chickens would walk right past an elevated garden to get to their muddy area, and the plants would continue growing without any disturbance.
6. Fence Your Garden
This method is the most beneficial one and works exceptionally well in keeping chickens out of gardens. Keep your garden protected with a welded wire fence when the chickens are moving about. Due to the fence’s height, the chickens won’t attempt to hop or fly over the fence.
Despite being able to see the plants on the other side, they won’t be able to figure out how to reach them. The choice of material matters a lot when installing a fence. Surrounding your garden with wooden fencing might look beautiful but isn’t enough for keeping chickens out.
They would use it as a point from which they can jump into your garden. They jump from the ground to be on top of the wooden fence, hop right into the garden.
Use wire fencing since it is flexible and unstable for the chickens to jump from. In contrast, we recommend not using a wooden top.
7. Using Weeds
Weeds can be a nuisance for your garden, taking nutrients from your plants. However, they can help keep chickens out. Pulling weeds out can leave patches of bare soil, which is something chickens enjoy.
They eat all the worms in the patch, lie in the dirt, and take dust baths, hurting plant growth. When you leave the weeds in the bed, it discourages the chickens and doesn’t hurt your sturdy crop.
8. A Space Just for Chickens!
One effective way of keeping chickens away from your garden is by giving them their own garden. If you have space or enough vacancy, you can assign an extra plot of land to keep these birds away from your crops. You can provide your chickens with their very own chicken.
When the chickens can nibble on all the fresh produce meant for them, they won’t attack the vegetables in your garden. Besides, it’s a source of free chicken food, and you don’t have to spend more money on purchasing chicken feed.
Arrange your garden in a way that there’s always a bush nearby for a foraging chicken to hide under if a threatening predator enters. Chickens prefer to scratch and sleep under bushes during summers.
Keep one evergreen plant or tree, so the chickens have a cover for the winter. The spring bloom also brings a variety of berries and flowers. Hence, you can make use of this season to grow berries and relevant crops to feed chickens.
Remember growing food for your chickens cuts down on the need for expensive, store-bought chicken food.
9. Don’t Disregard Your Neighbors
You will need to keep your neighbors in mind as you consider freeing your chickens for their leisure walks. A neighbor might tolerate one chicken wandering about in the corner of their yard. However, they will be understanding of twenty chickens entering their completely furnished porch or garden to rest and relax.
You might have a neighbor that doesn’t mind the presence of these birds, but that would be pretty rare to find.
If you are considering freeing your chickens and your neighbors live nearby, you will need to discuss how you will protect your neighbor’s property, including their garden, and keep the peace between your chickens and their household.
This may mean putting up a fence around your house to keep the chickens within their designated space. You will also want to consider if the neighbors allow their dogs to run around the neighborhood since dogs have the potential to kill an entire flock in a very short duration.
Keeping and maintaining chickens in your garden is not an easy task. It will require you to be vigilant of your garden crops and your chicken coop’s management. Hence if you have decided to keep your chicken stock alive, then go ahead!
However, be very careful about their behavior and keep them at a safe distance from your children. Chickens are known to attack predators, and for them, teasing children and controlling adults are predatory. Follow the above guidelines to keep yourself informed about these chickens, their actions, and their puckering habits.
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- How to Use Preen in a Vegetable Garden
- How to make plants grow faster at home
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I am Elsa, love gardening. I spent lots of time with plants, flowers, it gives me lots of happiness.
I am sharing all the practical tips on how to grow various plants, flower plants, vegetables in the garden. Read more about me.