Providing cover for free range ideas?


9 Years
Nov 17, 2010
I have been very lucky not to lose chickens to the hawks in our area. (Knock on wood). I was reluctant to let my chickens free range but an old farmer friend told me to just make sure to have plenty of good cover. I have only had chickens for a year and a half...but wanted to share a few ways I think I have provided good cheap cover for my chickens. We have a TON of hawks and coopers. They are EVERYWHERE. I sometimes hear the hawks screetching in frustration VERY near my chicken area.

More cheap ideas would be great!!!!!!

I have a raised bed that I planted thick with blackberry and rasberry bushes. Most of the plants I dug up at the edge of the woods. Then I added a good two feet of cheap mulch. The chickens have dug out underneath the bushes and created little caves for themselves under the blackberries. I can't even pull them out of there! I wouldn't think you would have to have a raised bed....any berry patch will do!

Here is the blackberry bed...two years ago. Now it is just all crazy brambles. And I have since added deer netting behind the grapevine trellis.


I also planted two mulberry bushes three years ago. Mid-day, especially when it's hot out, I will find chickens stashing themselves under the mulberry bushes . The mulberry bushes were like 18 inches when I got them in the mail...very cheap! In just three years they are the size in the picture below. Also in the picture next to the fence are tiger lilies. They grow by the side of the road here...everywhere. So I just dug a garbage bag full up and planted them all along my fence lines. The chickens dig and dig and they can't kill those plants! The chickens hide in the base of the lilies.

I have a hedge in front of my house that nothing grows under so it makes a nice dust bath place for my chickens and a hiding place. It is always in the shade so we cannot find any fruit trees or bushes that would do well there so the hedge has to stay (so far). Good idea about the berry bushes - I could try that in sunny parts of my yard! We do not have too many hawks but we do have fox (so we have a golden lab).
I have thorny bushes too. Plenty of ornamental grasses. In the open area I ran fishing line fence to fence,and tied some red mylar to it.So far no deaths,but the hawk does sit on the fence and look things over.I am sure it is deciding on a game plan.

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