How To Keep Chickens Out Of The Garden
You love your chickens, and you love your garden.
But unfortunately, your chickens love your garden too!
A little too much…and now your grass is ripped up, your flowers trampled and your vegetables eaten.
Chickens and gardens CAN live together, so long as everyone knows their place. Read on to learn how to keep chickens out of the garden!
Gardens Are The Playground Of Chickens
Chickens are playful by nature.
They will run around looking for worms in the ground, even if you are feeding them delicious pellets or table scraps. They will look for anything and everything they can peck at or scratch, which will inevitably wreak havoc on your garden.
Digging the ground will leave innumerable holes. If you have nicely maintained grassy topsoil, you can bid adieu to that entire green splendor.
Chickens have a weakness for greens, and for anything that is bright and colorful. Think: tomatoes and strawberries are to chickens what red capes are to bulls.
If you’re fed up and need to know how to stop chickens digging up grass…or flowers…or anything!… you’re going to want a chicken proof garden!
What You’ll Need
There are many ways to keep your chickens away from your garden, so we’ve listed everything you might need.
Try one method at a time, as you never know what might work for you!
What You Need
- Chicken wire or hardware cloth
- Old chicken run
- Rocks or bricks
- Raised planters
- Motion-detector sprinklers
- Fake owl
- Ultrasonic chicken repeller
- OR: An open mind to co-existing
Step 1. Build A Fence Around The Garden
This is the most obvious remedy.
If you absolutely do NOT want your chickens in your garden, then you cannot allow them a free run in it.
Using chicken wire or hardware cloth and stakes, put up a fence around your garden. If you’ve ever asked yourself “how to keep chickens out of my mulch/soil/grass”, fencing may be the most effective solution.
If you need to get an idea of how this can look, check out this video of a simple DIY project.
If you have an old chicken run and the garden you wish to protect is roughly the same size, use the run as a makeshift fence.
If you don’t want to create a barrier around your entire garden, you can use the chicken wire to create a fence around individual plants.
Take a look at this how-to guide on how to create simple cloches for your plants.
If wire isn’t your thing, you can use large rocks or bricks as a more aesthetically-pleasing barrier between your fowl and flora.
Note: If your chickens are flying and escaping over the fence you built, this may not necessarily be a fencing problem. Find out more Here.
Step 2. Separate Your Garden From The Free Range Chickens
This is possible if you have a garden in your front yard and the coop in your backyard. Large lots can easily accommodate segregated sections.
However, if you’re living on a smaller lot, you can separate areas by using a raised garden.
This is a good solution for how to keep chickens out of your flower beds – just keep them above their line of sight!
If chickens cannot see something, then they have no interest in it.
You can use stilts to raise a bed, or purchase pre-made raised planters, wherein you can grow plants of all descriptions.
If you find yourself wondering, “will chickens eat my vegetable garden?” – but don’t have the space to keep it next to your beloved chooks, why not raise your vegetables right over your chickens’ heads?
This is a real space-saver as they will be able to roam beneath the planters without causing any damage.
This allows you to have a spacious free range and all the kinds of herbs, fruits and vegetables you want.
Step 3. Try Something Other than Fencing
Fences aren’t for everyone.
You may not like the look, or the idea that parts of your yard are closed off to everything else. This step is for people wondering how to keep chickens out of the garden without fencing.
The idea here is to find something other than a physical barrier that will deter your chickens from entering your garden.
In the same vein as scarecrows, are fake owls – real owls are predators that would happily go after your chickens as an afternoon snack.
But, will a fake owl keep chickens away? Really?
This is a method that has proven to be the least effective.
However, if you do not have the time to implement some of these other techniques, it may be worth a shot. Who knows – your chickens may scare easy!
Well, will mothballs keep chickens away then?
There has been anecdotal evidence for both sides of this method, but we do not recommend trying it due to the toxicity of naphthalene (the chemical responsible for that distinctive smell) if ingested.
A safer and more effective method is a motion-detector sprinkler.
Set one of these bad boys up to spray your chickens before they reach the edge of your garden – they will quickly get the message that they are not welcome there!
Finally, if you want to get all high-tech and fancy, you can try an ultrasonic chicken repeller!
This device uses sound waves on a frequency inaudible to humans, to disorient your birds and keep them out of your veggie patch.
Step 4. Open Your Mind To Co-Existing
You may have your mind made up about keeping your chickens away from your plants.
Or maybe not.
You may not realize this, but there are actually BENEFITS to having chickens in your garden. These include:
- Eating the pests that would eat your plants
- Fertilizing your soil with their poop
- Eating the seeds that would grow into weeds
It has also been shown that being able to free range and eat up things around the garden is beneficial to chickens’ health, as their diet becomes more well-rounded and balanced. You can learn more about that here.
If you are considering letting your chickens co-exist with your garden, you can plant “tougher” plants that can withstand a bit of pecking, such as sunflowers or other flowers with sturdy stems.
Of course, this decision is entirely up to you.
The Last Word
Chickens and gardens are not always meant to be together, and that’s okay! If you need to know how to keep chickens out of the garden, we hope you found a method that works for you here.
If not, maybe housing your chickens in a larger open coop or chicken tractor is something to consider. Check out our top ideas and tips on how to build the perfect chicken coop right here!
Let us know in the comments what worked for you, or if there is another method we missed!