Aside from keeping my chickies in the chicken run (they are SOO happy free ranging), does anyone have any ideas of how to keep the chickens out of my garden this summer? I was thinking to build a fence or use the electronetting and hook it up to my existing electric fence that I have for my goats, but is there any other way? I guess that is really a dumb question. I really want to have a healthy garden and also let my chickies free range. It makes them so happy. I just planted onion sets the other day and they already dug them back out. They have acres and acres to free range upon but still I'm sure my garden is at serious risk.
Help keeping my chickens out of the garden
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I think you will need a fence. My chickens scratch everywhere I don't want them to. Anything new on the ground, or move something that has been sitting on the ground and they are right there to scratch it up.
My garden adjoins the fenced chicken yard. It is separately fenced (5 FT chain link). There is a gate between the two, and in winter the chickens spend almost all their time in the garden. I usually don't till under the remains of the plants in the fall, but let the chickens dig and till and do it for me (adding fertilizer the whole time, LOL). Then in spring, I till it and let the chickens eat whatever grubs, etc are uncovered. When I'm ready to plant, the gate is closed and they are no longer allowed in the garden. For a few days, they stand at the fence and gaze longingly at the green stuff in there. Of course nothing but nothing is growing in their area, which is quite large, about 50 X 60 ft. I toss weeds, etc to them.
Their favorite area is the asparagus bed, where the long stems are standing all winter. We call it the Conference Room, because they go in there every afternoon to chat and snooze. They feel safe among the tall stems. Maybe they have coffee and donuts, who knows?
BUT if I didn't fence them out in spring and summer, I wouldn't be able to have a garden at all.
It was a silly question to ask when I already knew what the answer would be. Thanks guys! I'm getting electronetting fence to go around. I guess they still may try to fly in but I could always clip their wings...that is, if I can get them all healthy again-we had a mystery death last night of one of our two roosters who was symptom free...weirdness! Here's to a healthy garden this summer!
For keeping my chickens out of our 4 raised veg. beds and my flower beds, I use a black plastic fence/netting (made by Tenax, I believe) that I get at Lowe's. It comes in 3ft. and 4ft. high rolls of about 50 feet for around $13. I use cane poles cut to whatever length I need for posts, and these type of fences are easily moved and rearranged.
Here you go. Of course, access to bamboo is very helpful. Six ft. tall chicken wire, and split bamboo...The chickens still munch on anything, which grows to the edge. I use bamboo stakes, to close the ends.
You could, also, rip some 1x lumber, on a tablesaw, to do the same thing.
Each section is 6'x6'.
At the end of the season, I can stack them flat, or hang them on a couple of nails, out of the way.
Edited by Royd - 4/7/10 at 7:17am