Chickens love to run around and flap their wings. They can also distinguish between colors, so for them, your garden is a colorful playground with plenty of room and free food!
So, how to keep chickens out of your garden? You won’t ask them to leave (although it does work sometimes since chickens have cognitive abilities close to dogs and cats.)
Instead, we’ll rely on more practical solutions, 16 to be exact.
1. Confine Your Chickens
Confining your chickens doesn’t mean locking them up. It’s healthy for the chickens to leave their coop and move around. It improves their blood circulation and reduces their stress.
On the other hand, having your chickens constantly roaming around could negatively affect your garden. Chickens are curious birds and may nibble on anything that looks like food.
So, if you currently don’t have other methods to prevent your chickens from reaching your garden, keep them confined to their coops.
2. Install a Garden Fence
Installing a garden fence is a straightforward solution. You will be denying the chickens and any other unwanted guests from reaching your garden.
The one problem with chicken wire garden fencing is how pricey it can be, especially if your garden is a large one.
To reduce the cost, you can use cheaper options like hardware cloth.
3. Use Garden Hoops and Netting
Garden hoops and nettings are simple yet clever ideas to protect your plants from chickens and other birds.
A garden hoop is a wooden container that confines your plants. It’s covered by a protective mesh that lets the air, water, and light through but prevents everything else.
Garden hoops and nettings don’t only keep intruders out but also protect against harsh weather conditions.
Sun rays, snow, and flying debris could all harm your plants if they don’t have the protective cover of the garden hoop.
4. Try Motion-Activated Sprinklers
Most birds don’t like being sprayed with water, and chickens aren’t an exception. If you have the time and mentality, you could simply use a water hose to spray them away if they get too close.
If you don’t fancy that idea or simply don’t want to be seen chasing some chickens with a water hose, a motion-activated sprinkler is a good alternative.
Motion-activated sprinklers will detect the incoming flock of chickens and fire on sight. The chickens will run back to their farm side, and your plants will get a taste of fresh water.
There’s, however, a little downside to that. Those sprinklers are instructed to fire at will. That includes you, your family, any unsuspecting pets, and guests. Unless you manually shut them down, they will show no mercy.
5. Cover Bare Ground in Garden
Bare garden grounds are the areas where there are no seeds or plants. They’re just plain soil to walk on. You might be wondering how covering bare ground in the garden keeps the chickens away from it.
The answer is simple; when you cover the bare ground, you remove one of the reasons why chickens are interested in your garden. This might sound strange, but chickens love a dust bath.
Dust removes excess oil from their feathers and makes them a lot less desirable for pests and parasites. In your chickens’ eyes, your bare ground is an outdoor bathroom.
You can use bricks and stones to cover the bare ground. It’s surprising how effective that can be.
6. Border Garden With Herbs
Would you like to hug a smelly person? It’s not the most exciting idea, is it? How about using the same concept on your chickens?
Don’t worry. You won’t be using real bad smells in your garden to keep them away. Instead, you’ll use good-smelling plants that your chickens don’t like. Some examples of those plants are Lavender, Salvia, and Spearmint.
If you have already grown your garden and don’t want to wait for some new seeds to grow, you can purchase those plants in small pots and immediately plant them in your garden.
7. Provide Chickens With Their Own Dust-Bath Area
We’ve mentioned earlier that chickens love to use your garden as a giant bathroom. So, how about giving them their own dust-bath area?
Here’s how to create a dust bath for your fussy birds:
- Dig a 24-inch deep hole that’s 8-inch wide in your desired area
- Add some dirt or sand into the hole. Your chickens will love it more if the added dirt or sand is grounded softly
- Add some Diatomaceous Earth. It’s an insecticide that’s made from entirely natural materials
- Add some sort of cover over the dust bath to keep it from any weather conditions that could wet it like rain. An umbrella is a good example.
8. Clip Chickens’ Wings
Clipping chickens’ wings doesn’t mean cutting the whole wing off. We’re not trying to harm the chickens; the point is to just limit their ability to fly around.
Clipping the wings is harmless and painless for the chicken if done correctly. You would aim to cut only the terminal parts of certain feathers.
A chicken wing contains primary feathers and secondary feathers. You should only cut around half an inch of the terminals of the primary feathers. That limits your chicken’s ability to use its wings without causing any pain or harm.
9. Be Sure Chickens Have Plenty To Eat
Dust bathing isn’t the only thing that causes your chickens to leave their coop. Sometimes the lack of food can force them to seek nutrition somewhere else.
What’s the good alternative that’s full of juicy crops and seeds? That’s right, your garden.
Giving your chickens enough food is essential to keep them healthy. It also prevents them from having a night out in the local garden restaurant.
If you have numerous chickens in one coop, make sure to increase the amount of food accordingly.
10. Build a Chicken Tractor Instead of Free-Ranging Your Flock
A chicken tractor is essentially a mobile RV for your chickens. It gives them all the benefits of daylight and the fresh air without letting them wreak havoc in your garden.
Don’t let the word ‘tractor’ scare you. You won’t be using sophisticated engineering mechanics. All you need is some woodworking skills.
There are four parts of the chicken tractor that you need to build:
The frame of the chicken tractor is made of wooden walls. Those walls have large windows that you need to close with chicken wire or hardware cloth.
The chicken wire provides light and air to the tractor without allowing your chickens to run out.
The Nesting Area
You should build the nesting area inside the tractor. It’s a well-shaded area where chickens can lay eggs, nest, and sleep.
The nesting area should have a few holes to let some light in without being an open window like the chicken run area.
The Chicken Run Area
The chicken run area is the little playground the chickens roam in when they’re not sleeping inside the nesting area.
The size of this area decides how large your chicken tractor will be.
Wheels are optional if your tractor is small but needed if you are going to build a bigger one.
You need to move the tractor for occasional cleaning, and having wheels makes the process much easier.
11. Sprinkle Citrus Peels Throughout Garden
Citrus, lemon, and orange peels are some of the greatest weapons against chicken invasions. Start saving up those peels and draw an outline around your garden using them.
Chickens don’t like the strong smell of such fruits, and they will turn back the moment they smell them.
You could also spray some citrus or orange juice around the garden. However, besides being a waste of a good drink, you’ll need to re-spray the juice after every rain to retain its effectiveness.
12. Protect Individual Plants With Chicken Wire or Stones
If your chickens have a special interest in a particular plant, you may resort to protecting that individual plant.
You can try making a small housing or a ‘mini garden hoop’ of chicken wire around that plant. Alternatively, you could build a small housing of stones around the plant to prevent the chickens from reaching it.
13. Hang Fake Hawks Over Garden
Chickens aren’t the most brilliant birds around, but they still have the natural survival instinct. They know better than to mess with hungry birds that attack from above.
You can use their natural predator to your advantage. Make or buy fake hawk(s) around your garden to keep your chickens from getting too close.
14. Plant a Shrub Border
If having a fence made of chicken wire, wood, or hardwire cloth isn’t a good idea for you, why not settle for a natural alternative instead?
Plant a shrub border around your garden to prevent chickens from getting through. Not only would your garden be protected, but it would also look great!
15. Train Your Dog To Protect Garden
It seems that dogs are always there when you’re in a pickle. If you have a dog, you can train him to protect your garden from all intruders, not just chickens.
Dogs are territorial and would do anything to keep their belongings safe; that includes you and your garden.
Pick the right breed that’s defensive but not overly aggressive, and train the dog to chase off intruders only to a specific limit around your garden.
16. Supervise Free-Range Time
Chickens, like most living creatures, need to leave the coop occasionally to remain mentally and physically healthy.
When you decide to take your chickens for an outing, you should be there as they do so. We strongly advise against opening the coop, going back home for a coffee, then coming back out to guide the chickens back to their coop.
You may notice a few plants damaged or missing if that happens. Always supervise the free-range time of your chickens to keep them from getting in your garden or simply straying too far.
The everlasting garden fever of chickens simply won’t go away. You have to take action yourself. We hope that you have an idea of how to keep chickens out of your garden by now.
Most of the solutions rely on three fundamental ideas: chasing the chickens away, preventing them from coming in, or making their own home more enjoyable.
If you circle your solutions around those three goals, you guarantee yourself a chicken-free garden.