Chickens can be messy creatures, but they don’t have to damage your garden – this week we’ll be discussing how you can protect your garden and keep your chickens happy.
Most poultry keepers accept that if they want to have chickens then they’re going to have to sacrifice a perfect garden. However, poultry and plants can live harmoniously together – you just have to know how to do it!
Not every method will work for every chicken, some are definitely more determined than others to eat things they shouldn’t! Chicken proofing your garden is more trial and error than a hard and fast method that suits everyone.
Here’s our quick guide on how to chicken proof your garden so you can keep your plants beautiful and your poultry happy:
Think about the space you have
The most common reason for chickens ruining a garden is having too many chickens in not enough space. Realistically small gardens can accommodate three to five chickens before a trashed garden becomes inevitable. Larger outdoor spaces could fit between five and eight chickens and still maintain a respectable looking garden.
Think carefully about the size of your garden, the number of chickens you want, and whether you intend to let them free range or keep them in a purpose built run before you bring your hens home.
Bulk buy the chicken wire
Even if your chickens have enough space they might still take the occasional nibble of your prize plants. Invest in some chicken wire and create a low wire fence to keep peckish hens away from your greenery.
If chicken wire isn’t strong enough for your persistent hens then try hardware cloth which has smaller holes and can be used as ground covers to protect seedlings or low growing plants.
Use rocks for protection
A hungry hen will easily push or scratch small stones out of the way to get at a tasty looking plant, so using large rocks or bricks around the base of the plant will make them harder to reach.
You might find this method especially useful if you have recently planted pots or containers.
Give them plants of their very own
Robust shrubs and bushes will give your chickens somewhere to scratch around and hide, drawing them away from more delicate plants. The exact type of bush you choose is up to you but having an evergreen in your garden will give hens somewhere to go all year around.
Move their house regularly
If you have a moveable house then rotate it around your garden regularly. This will give damaged areas of your garden a chance to recover and provide your hens with an interesting new view every few weeks.
Have a purpose built run/enclosure
If your hens aren’t going to free range, or you only want to let them out at certain times, invest in a high quality purpose built run or enclosure. They’ll have enough to room scratch around, bathe, and snack on bugs and the rest of your garden will be protected.