The Downside of Garden Chickens

chickenHaving chickens is a great way to control the pests that lurk in yards. They love to feast on slugs, beetles, ticks and many other small bugs. However, as they graze chickens can scratch around new plants, burying them or even uprooting and destroying them.

Here are a few ways to keep chickens away from planting beds/plants:
•    Raised beds: Chickens prefer to keep grounded, so planting in raised beds may deter these feathered friends. This is not a perfect solution, but it has worked for some gardeners. To help improve chances of success, make sure to place plants close together in order to help keep the soil out of the chickens’ sight.
•    Cages: You can protect your newly planted seeds with mesh cages that are placed over the young plants. Once the plants have been well established, you can remove the cages.
•    Chicken wire: Place the chicken wire around the garden. Although flimsy, this will keep the chickens out of your beds while also allowing you to still have access to the plants. Make sure it is tall enough, roughly 3 to 4 feet in height, so that it keeps the most determined chickens from flying over it, but it’s still short enough for you to climb over. Place several stakes—wooden, bamboo, sticks, etc.—around the garden to secure the wiring.
•    Fencing: If you want a more aesthetically pleasing look than chicken wire or other mesh coverings, get creative with your fencing. Use a white picket fence, or try a rustic wooden one.

Other chicken remedies:

  • Some chicken owners have sprinkled coffee grounds around the area they want to protect to help repel the chickens from these locations.
  • Placing a motion-sensor sprinkler by the areas you want to protect will help keep the chickens away by spraying the chickens whenever they come close. They do not like water. This will not harm your chickens, but it will take a few times for them to get the hint that they need to stay away.
  • A chicken coop with a fenced-in area for your chickens will ensure that they stay within bounds; however, for owners who want their chickens to roam freely, this is not an ideal choice.

With the right tools and the right method, you can keep your plants safe while also keeping your roaming chickens happy.

Image: Mindaugas Urbonus
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Keeping chickens isn’t only for farms. Learn how to keep chickens in your own backyard in Backyard Chickens Guide to Coops & Tractors.

Whether on a farm or in the city, Keeping Chickens will help you become more self-sufficient by learning how to raise these feathery livestock.

Start raising your own animals with help from Laura Child’s The Joy of Keeping Farm Animals.

Discover a holistic approach to small-area farming in Mini Farming.

Learn how to incorporate homesteading principles into your own life with Little House in the Suburbs.

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