chickens in the garden


In the Brooder
12 Years
Jun 29, 2007
I am about to plant our spring garden. We free range our guineas and chickens and wonder if they will damage our plants as they come up. I know we lost a number of tomatoes last year to chickens and our second planting of okra was nipped off as it appeared above ground. It will cost over $400 to fence and would like to avoid it if possible. I also hate to cage our flock. Any suggestions? [email protected]
The guinea should not eat the garden but the chicks will definitely chow down on the new plants
I would just make the investment--it'll pay off in the long run--plus when the season is up you could put the chicks in there and let them till and fertilize for you!!
Yep, the chickens will eat every new green thing that they see in your garden. I don't know anything about guineas, but I would think that they would also eat new green things!!!
Unless your garden is really huge, you should be able to get by with a lot less than $400. You are only keeping chickens out, so chicken wire is enough. A 6' tall, 165' roll around here is less than $50 at the farmers feed and seed. Posts can be small and quite far apart, like 6' to 8'. If fence posts seem high, check out treated 2X4's or even 4X4's at the lumber yard. Small common nails, like 6 or 8 penny, will hold the wire to the posts; pound halfway in, then bend over the wire. Easy to do even for this old woman, and cheap. You should be able to construct a gate with chicken wire and lightweight wood; treated 2X4's ripped with a table saw work well. You might want to cement the gate-holding post, and use something a bit more substantial like a 4X4 for that one post. An 8' 4X4 is under $5. I fenced my garden for the cost of one roll of chicken wire, but I had some old, small diameter posts and a few 4X4s lying around. It won't last 30 years, but then, neither will I....
We had a couple of sick hens outside the coop. The eat up every blade of newly planted corn that was coming up. None are allowed near the garden now.
My chickens made pumkin soup
This Pumpkin was growing on the wrong side of the fence so I don't mind, besides there are plenty more but they are definately not going into my garden. Every now and then they go to the pumpkin, have a drink and a snack then move on, the pumkin is still attached and alive, chickens are very cool.
I would go with a fence and keep them out.


Perhaps you could fence in only the plants that you really want for yourself and resign yourself to really planting a garden to feed the chickens.

Just how big is that garden to need $400 worth of fencing? I also think you could protect it for less. To a chicken the world is its salad bowl and beneath that is its dust bath. Guineas don't dig with big dinosaur feet like chickens do, but they will nip at many garden plants.

You could check with your local Freecycle groups and Craigslist to find free/low-cost fencing materials. To keep chickens & guineas out you could even use plastic mesh, pool fencing, reed, orange emergency fencing, even window screen. Your community may also have a ReStore, a thrift store for building materials run by Habitat for Humanity. And keep watch for curb-side treasures in your neighborhood's discard piles.

One year my guineas would fly over the garden fence to nip at the lettuces, made them all look lace-edged. I had to raise the fence with extra 1X2 poles and orange emergency fence. This year they seem to have forgotten the experience.

Of course I would prefer the look of $400 worth of new fence materials around my garden, but necessity rules here. Perhaps you could start with found materials and add just a bit of new-bought stuff each year, maybe starting with the gate.
It had to cost $400 to fence in my garden with 48" high welded wire and T posts on 3 sides. Price went because I wanted the side that parallels the road to be presentable, so I used cedar posts there.

Still haven't built proper gates for the garden and will need more wire to expand the garden this year.

Fencing ain't cheap.


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