IMO, this is way too much work-- Far better to make a chicken run than have to armor your entire property! We have a pasture--four feet high, 4" hole woven goat fence will keep them where they belong if you clip wings. If you have a small area, you can make a run that's entirely enclosed with mesh and then they aren't going anywhere, but our chicken pasture is 75' x 125'. If you want it to look really nice, you can do a nicer looking wooden fence and then put chicken wire on the inside of it so it's hidden.As it's your neighbours beds they get into, IMO definitely fence it. They can make such a devestating mess over time, it is not good for friendly human relationships. After the flowers are gone, they can dig their way to.... the middle of the earth.
We have fences with neighbours and in our own garden a combination of:
Full metal wire cage structure over the vegie patch, which we did to keep local wildlife out pre-chickens. Thank goodness
Around new or low shrubs etc, I place cobbles or bricks around the stem, to stop them digging at the root ball.
We have mulched soil paths next to concrete paths and decks. Their digging throws the mulch and soil over the paths and decks. I put down a 1 meter wide strip of hard plastis bird netting and peg it down with cheap tent pegs. Keeps them far enough away to not make a mess where people walk.
I use the same stuff in a cylinder shape to protect plants in pots, or low plants that they want to devour. I also put it over groundcover but need to raise it onto a frame, or they use their bodyweight to pin the netting down and eat the groundcover through it.
You'll soon find out what their favourites are - and what the best option is to protect it. We have a large suburban backyard and a few months of observing them and trying different tactics for different areas has left us with a fairly good compromise. They can be chickens, but the most precious plants and human activity areas are protected from the worst of their feeding and excavation skills.
Sort it out early before it gets worse, is my personal advice. I started out completely chilled, then realised I needed to exert some fair, non-harmful controls, or they would completely ruin the whole garden!
LOL, yes, your birds would "disappear" if they came to my house and dug up my garden, too.I agree, please be a good chicken neighbor and fence your birds in. While you may love the idea of your birds roaming freely, I'm sure your neighbor does not. You may start coming up short birds before long, you sure would if they came onto my place.