Free-ranging your chickens may be a concern when you think about any type of garden area you have. Or better yet keeping chickens off the porch is a whole new idea. They love to scratch up dirt! Especially if you are just planting seeds they will destroy them.
For us, I always loved the idea of chickens wandering around the yard. Even though I was terrified when we started with six chicks four years ago. We lived across the street from Walmart, and BJ’s was only two houses down, and I free ranged my six hens.
We bonded and they were my girls. I still have two of them! I didn’t know at the time chickens would train to a sound and come to it. I just called out “Here Chick Chicks,” shaking food and they would come. I did it every time and now they know to just come as soon as I call them.
How to Keep Your Chickens Out of Your Garden
Train Your Chickens to Come
This won’t save your garden but it’s a must-have tip for anyone who wants to free range their chickens. It would work best if you let your chickens out for a few hours in the evening and they start wondering over to the garden area. You can quickly call them away and distract them to a new spot.
If you haven’t seen the meme I shared on Facebook about the chickens having 22 acres to roam but they choose the deck, it’s another reason to train your chickens to come to your voice.
Enclose your garden.
Last summer I purchased this little green wire fence to keep the chickens out of this area. I had no idea if it was going to work. I liked that it didn’t stand out and just blends in.
Note the online price at Walmart is higher than in store.
You could go a cheaper route and use chicken wire around your garden. It’s not too strong but it would keep them off for the season. If you have harsh winters as we do, you would want to store it away for winter.
I always bring our fencing back in.
The last resort you just completely fence in your garden. This is my garden below and we did use chicken wire- but its stapled to the wood. If you are just using it as a border around the garden it will work, but won’t hold up as well.
See all the weeds that year? It was my garden burnout year. Glad that feeling comes and goes. If you are experiencing garden burnout read this.
Did you know chickens are smart enough to catch on to consistency? If you are out watering your garden and the chickens want to come on over bring your hose and spray them and tell them no. Consistency will train them to stay away. Yes you may have that one, but that’s life- there is always that one 🙂
If you have older hens mixed in they will take the hint quicker and help the younger ones to keep away. This takes consistency. It took me weeks to get my chickens to learn that a hose means no.
Use an Object
My husband and I started using a long PVC pipe to gather up our ducks at night. Once the weather stayed warm overnight those little guys wanted nothing to do with going in the coop.
Now when we use that same pole the chickens flee from the area. Another thing chickens will learn is words. Just like training them to come, my husband thinks I am crazy you can train them to a word.
My chickens literally know the word ” Shoo.” I know typing it up even sounds silly but it works. Since I’ve had Roosters for three years now I’ve become quite brave. I used to not be able to walk around our yard without some kind of stick to protect myself. Now our big boy Amelio knows if he is crowding around the garage door and I want them out, I say “Shoo and they start moving.
Okay, the truth yes I say, ” SHOO! SHOO!” several times. They get the hint guys they really do! Try it and let me know 😉
This is one I have not tried. I thought about it last year getting a fake owl to put on the deck. I may try it this year and let you know. Other’s have said it works. Because our birds are pasture raised I think they would realize it isn’t real. Maybe I’m giving the my chickens the benefit of the doubt here but it could work.
I did find the cheapest price for a fake owl in our area was at a store called Runnings for under $10.
Options for fake predators – Snakes, Coyotes, Hawks and Owls.
If the little ladies or gentlemen just won’t let up after these options, you may need to keep them enclosed and think about expanding the chicken run.