My mother-in-law knows so well about how to keep chickens out of the garden, and I am going to share some tips today. It may sound impossible for the chickens to co-exist with other crops and plants in the garden. However, there are some useful methods that you can do to keep your chicken from damaging your flowers or vegetation. Feel free to check them out, you will probably find some of the tactics below useful for your garden.
10 Effective Ways To Keep Chickens Out Of The Garden
Method #1: Chicken Garden
The easiest way to keep the chickens from your garden is by giving them their own garden. Don’t worry that it is going to be a waste of time and space because it is actually beneficial for them. A chicken garden helps to distract the chickens’ attention from your garden while supplementing their diet at the same time. So what is a chicken garden? There are some important factors that you should know before building a chicken garden, including:
Pick an area that is the closest to their coop so that their garden is the first place they see. When a chicken garden is closer to them, they will not want to invade your garden at all. The location for a chicken garden should have some shade, but it should receive at least 7 hours of sunlight. At the same time, make sure that the area has nutritious and well-drained soil. This is to ensure that the plants that you grow are healthy for the chickens.
The size of a chicken garden depends on the number and size of the chickens in the flock that you have. A rule of thumb that you can easily follow is the bigger, the better. Chickens can be a little territorial, so sometimes they avoid feeding or hanging out in the same places. So make sure that the garden is spacious so that they are able to walk around without fighting for food. You will also need a big space if your chickens are big because they don’t like cramping in one spot.
Chickens are fond of all kinds of plants, especially the ones in your garden. When you want to build a garden for them, make sure to include plants that are beneficial to their health. The plants that you can grow for your chickens are:
- Flowers: bee balm, coneflower, dandelion, marigold, nasturtium, rose.
- Herbs: basil, blue cornflower, comfrey, lemon balm, mint, rosemary, oregano, plantain leaf, sage, thyme, yarrow.
- Plants: clover, corn, cucumber, garlic, lentil, lettuce, pea, pumpkin, sunflower, watermelon.
Method #2: Chicken Wire
The name is the chicken wire for a reason, and its purpose is to keep the chickens out. You can use chicken wire to create a protective barrier between the chicken and the plants. Your bird friends cannot peck like they used to while the plants receive the air, sunlight, and water as usual. This method is perfect for chicken’s favorite plants like tomatoes, and it is extremely effective. Not to mention that chicken wire is easy to find and use, you can do it in no time.
Method #3: Citrus
Among the strong smell that you can easily find, citrus is one of them. You won’t need to use an entire fruit because the leftover peels of citrus fruits can do the job well. The most effective ones are grapefruit, lemon, lime, and orange peels, and you will see the result right away. Unfortunately, this method is only ideal for a small garden or for those who eat citrus fruits every day. If not so, then you may want to try an alternative instead which is citrus essential oil. Apply or spray some essential oils near the garden daily, and you may need to re-apply them after rain. This method can be time-consuming but it proves to have worked before.
Method #4: Coop Relocation
For those who have a chicken coop and garden too close to each other, you need to relocate the coop. It is only natural for the chickens to visit your garden if it is the first thing they see. Consider moving the coop a little further from the garden if there is any space for it. Then create a welcoming atmosphere for the chicken with adequate food and plants to keep them occupied. This is to ensure that the chickens remain in their new place without coming back to your garden. Most chickens don’t wander around too far from their coop, so the further the new location is, the better. You may want to add a barrier or fence in between after the relocation to prevent the chickens from coming back.
Method #5: Fence
In case you are too busy to use most methods, then it is better to just build a fence. A fence is the most effective way to keep chickens as well as other invasive animals from the garden. The height of the fence that you build should be high enough beyond the chickens’ quick flight or jump. This is also the best method to execute if there are other invaders like rabbits or raccoons. With a secure fence around the garden, there is nothing for you to worry about. Plus, with the right color, the fence also complements the beauty of your garden as well which is a total bonus.
Method #6: Ground Coverage
Another reason that keeps the chickens coming to the garden besides plants is the attraction like bugs and dirt. Chickens love dirt baths, and you probably already know if you have chickens long enough. To prevent them from using your garden space as a dirt bath spa, cover the ground. When you apply a method to keep the chickens away, do it with style. I highly recommend bricks, stones, or tiles because you can easily get creative with them. Use colorful and large stones to cover the ground so that chickens can dig the dirt up. This could be a beautiful entrance to the garden while keeping your winged friends out, simply a big win.
Method #7: Herbs
Herbs have two impacts on chickens, attract them and repel them. Growing the delicious herbs will benefit their health and growth while growing the repelling herbs keeps them out. There are certain herbs that you can plant around the garden or among your plants to deter their interests. These include: borage, calendula, catnip, chives, St. John’s wort, and tansy. The strong scent from these herbs simply keeps the chickens out and away from your garden. Make sure to grow the herbs as dense as possible in order to effectively keep them out. You can also grow them in pots and move them around in case the chickens can make their way in. The best part is that you can also use those herbs in the kitchen, this method is also a big win.
Method #8: Nets
For free-roaming chickens, the method that you can do is to protect your plants in the garden instead. You can install nets or similar sorts of coverage to prevent the chickens and other birds from pecking. Garden nets are available in different forms and shapes to protect various types of vegetation. They are also cheap and easy to find, so looking for one is not difficult. With these nets on, you won’t have to worry that the chickens will attack your plants anymore. Simple and safe, this could be the method that you can apply to your garden.
Method #9: Raised Bed Garden
Another clever way to prevent the chickens from getting close to your plants is growing them in a raised-bed garden. This type of garden can be at any height that you like, preferably out of the chicken’s reach. Besides staying safe, raised-bed gardens are also convenient to care for and monitor. You won’t have to bow and kneel to add fertilizer or water like a regular garden at all. Even better, this type of garden is actually very neat, with a separate bed or container for each plant that you have. Not to mention that it is also pretty, you really should take raised-bed gardens into consideration.
Method #10: Shrub Barriers
For a large garden with big available space, you can plant shrubs as barriers between the chickens and plants. The awesome thing about shrubs is that they keep the chickens out while looking beautiful with the garden. It is a healthy and lively kind of fence that looks amazing with flower or vegetation gardens. This could be expensive and time-consuming, but its effects are long-lasting and visible. The chickens cannot cross the barrier while the garden looks great with green shrubs around.
Bonus: Hardware Cloth / Wire Cloth
Let’s say you have trust issues with chicken wires or nets, then you may want to put your trust in hardware cloth instead. This material is more durable, thicker, and tougher, which is perfect to have for long-term use. On top of that, you can also use it to create various items for your chicken and garden as well. Below are a few things that you can make use of from hardware cloth or wire cloth.
Many people prefer using hardware cloth as the cover or the roof for a chicken coop. That is because it is more durable and protective when it comes to protection against predators from outside. At the same time, it is also very rigid, so a hardware cloth roof lasts for years to come.
Yes, you can use hardware cloth to build a fence for your garden. Choose the ones with small mesh grids and simply install them around your garden. The durable metal material does not only keep the chickens out but also rodents and other pests. Before you go for the expensive fence building, you may want to try hardware cloth first. In case it works, then you are going to save a lot of money.
Simply cut the hardware cloth into small squares, then use them to cover or shield seedlings. Hens love to peck or scratch seedlings in the garden, and this method will prevent them from doing that. Once the seedlings start rooting, then you may remove the squares then reuse them later.
Things are a little tricky when you want to have both chicken coops and gardens on the same perimeter. Luckily, there are so many solutions that you can apply to tackle this challenging situation. My mother-in-law was very specific with what she did, and I wrote everything she said for you above. If she succeeded using those methods, I am sure you will too.