I don't think spraying a repellent on the neighbors vegetables will make them any happier then the chickens themselves, that's if there was a repellent that worked on chickens. You are going to have to put the fencing in your yard. They will wander even if you have the best place for them. The alternative is to only leave them out when you can herd them away from your neighbors.
Now that neighbors have voiced displeasure, whether timely or not, you are obligated to contain the birds or make them go in another direction so the birds do not cause the neighbors further issues. The neighbors are under no obligation to do anything to assist nor should they be.
Well, sorry your neighbors haven't been direct with you. However...........
part of being a responsible animal owner is keeping your animals on your property. It's really not responsible to just let your animals roam. Your solution needs to be confinement to your property, not just out of their garden. Chickens are strong creatures of habit, and since they've been accustomed to eating and bathing at the neighbors, you might need a strong fence to change that habit. A 4 foot fence can be temporarily added to with rolls of plastic mesh, some folks use stakes to add height and string wire at intervals making rails on the top. You can look into clipping wings. You can use electric poultry netting to re-train them to your property and/or allow them to range in your yard. Some folks have used water spraying but you have to be very, very dedicated to change the habit.
Agreed. in many areas, it is perfectly legal to 'dispose of' nuisance animals. It sounds like yours have become a nuisance to your neighbors. It is your obligation to contain them to your own property. I personally would not want someone elses animals mucking around on my property, pooping in my yard, patio, wherever & eating up my garden. Had I expressed my displeasure & my neighbor still didnt take the hint, Id take matters into my own hands......it sounds like your neighbors just are not wanting to be confrontational & are hoping youll just take the hint.
You are going to have to fence them in to their own area. period.
They can still be free in your yard where you can enjoy them but you have to make sure they stay in your yard. I would build a much taller fence that they can not see through and with some sort of edging that they will be unlikely to want to land on or looks like they cant land on so they won't try. What breeds do you have? With a heavier breed you might be able to get away with wing clipping but I know my leghorns could easily get over a 4ft fence even with a clipped wing. Keep in mind chickens also dig so make sure the fence is will into the ground or put down some pavers.
If a new yard fence is not in your budget then I would make a completely inclosed run and then let them out when you are home and can supervise or only in evening when they won't have a ton of time to wonder away from home.
You're going to have to build a run or put up better fencing. I don't think a strand of electric will do it - I think their feathers would protect them from the desired effect. You do need to do something, though, to keep peace with your neighbors.
It is unfortunate that neighbors are not honest in the beginning or didn't realize the chickens would indulge into the garden. They should have been adults & came to you - not the other neighbors. It does sound like you need to put up a fence to keep them on your property. Your property can be a large run or more confined free range I let mine out of the coop/run daily to run my cross fenced property. It is free ranging in a sense - just with boundaries lol. They are still in the open to run, exercise & eat bugs. Hope you & your neighbors work things out. Best of luck.