Chicken-proof your garden?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jhook1997, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. jhook1997

    jhook1997 Out Of The Brooder

    May 18, 2011
    How do you protect your garden from free-ranging chickens? I need a cost effective way b/c mine are making a real mess of it and there's nothing even planted yet![​IMG]
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    you have to fence the part of the garden you don't want them in. It can be as cheap as plastic netting but there does have to be a barrier.
  3. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    Yeah, I only have a 3' decorative fence on mine and they go right over it so I'm going to have to put a cheap (and probably unattractive) bit of fencing up higher -- at least until the plants are established. All of these years I've been able to keep the rabbits and deer out with nothing but proximity to the house and a dog so it wasn't a concern. But chickens will level a row of seedlings before you can say, "Shoo!"
  4. ralleia

    ralleia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2011
    Omaha, NE
    Yup, fencing is the only way.

    My 3 foot chicken wire fence keeps them out of my old garden, but that's just because there are so many other more interesting areas to scratch and peck.

    I'm considering electric fencing for the new garden areas.that I'll be establishing this spring.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Yes, there has to be a barrier that they cannot squeeze through. I don't like plastic because it does not last. It gets brittle and weed eaters destroy it, though some plastics last longer than others before turning brittle. But watch lawn movers throwing stuff and weed eaters.

    I don't know how big an area you are talking about protecting. Youi can look at Lowe's, Home Depot, Tractor Supply, or maybe a building supply company to see what you options are for fencing and posts. I got a 150' long roll of 5' "No-Dig Kennel" fencing from Tractor Supply a couple of years ago for a little over $150. My TSC does not stock it any more but you might be able to get them to order it for you and avoid transportation. That roll is pretty heavy for one person to handle, but I managed by myself.

    Your corner posts need to be pretty substantial and well braced, but the intermediate posts don't have to be as sturdy. Watch your gates. Those are often weak points in your security system, especially if you make them big enough to get equipment through.

    Good luck with it.

  6. texas75563

    texas75563 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2012
    Linden, Texas
    I only have 1 rooster. He doesn't like the water sprinkler. I have my sprinkler hooked up to a timer. It comes on 6 times a day for 2 minutes. They have motion sensor sprinklers.
  7. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Two suggestions: Limit the free range time thus limit the damage. Last and more drastic, do away with the garden. Actually, it was the deers that made us gave up gardening. Same issue just much more lethal.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  8. Daisy8s

    Daisy8s Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2011
    Central Michigan
    My cousin put up a single strand of electric wire 3 inches off the ground and he says it worked to keep his chickens out. Maybe he had a really heavy breed that didn't know they could fly?
    He said one hen hit the fence the first day and squawked and then that was it--nobody approached the fence again.

    My solution is that my dogs "own" the part of the yard where the garden is while the chickens "own" another part. Glad they've worked out a mutually agreeable custody agreement.
  9. ray2310

    ray2310 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2009
    Smithfield, PA
    Certainly not cost effective but wire fence was the only way for me. (besides keeping them locked in their run) Atleast 5ft high is best
  10. GardeNerd

    GardeNerd Chillin' With My Peeps

    Gardening with free ranging chickens has its challenges, but it is doable.

    With my first flock, portable fencing (pet pens I found on craigslist) for tender new plants and scrap pieces of hardware cloth around the plant root zones kept the damage minimized. They didn't like scratching around the hardware cloth on the ground. I also made sure to leave bare areas for dust bathing, otherwise they made new holes. A picket style fence around the veggie garden kept them away from the tastiest stuff. Planting fast growing things helped some. I tried limiting free range time, but the chickens constantly complained when stuck in the run. Living close to neighbors, noisy chickens aren't an option, so mine had all day time outside. I have a post on my blog of other stuff I did to peacefully co-exist with a full time, free range, large fowl flock

    When I started my second flock, I reluctantly tried hatchery bantam cochins based on recommendations from other gardeners. The difference in the amount of garden damage is night and day. Their short feathered legs do much less damage. They are kind of picky and they would prefer to munch grass rather than my taller ornamental plants. They are generally couch potatoes so they don't mind it if leave them in the coop and run all day. They still get out to free range a lot, just not daily, from dawn to dusk. We still get plenty of eggs, and the eggs aren't too small, 1.3 -1.5 oz each. I will probably never keep large breeds again in my tiny urban backyard garden. The advantages that go with bantam Cochins far out weigh the slightly bigger eggs we got from the larger breeds.

    Best of Luck.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012

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