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How to Keep Chickens Out of Your Garden (13 Tips)

brown chicken in the garden

You might think you have everything you need for homesteading—a nice-sized flock of chickens and a beautiful garden for sustenance. But sometimes, these two don’t fit together. You may spend much of your time tending to your garden, but your chickens might just help themselves to the fruits of your labor.

So, how can you keep your pesky poultry out of your bell peppers? The task might not be so simple, but it’s something you can avoid with the appropriate measures. Here are 13 ideas to get you started.

new little chicken divider

13 Tips For Keeping Chickens Out of Your Garden

1. Plant Specific Herbs

Chickens are voracious eaters, always looking for a tasty snack. To deter them from the medley waiting in your garden, plant herbs around the perimeter that your chickens can’t stand.

Some herbs that are major deterrents for chickens include:

  • Borage
  • Pot Marigold
  • Catnip
  • Spearmint
  • Chives
  • Sage
  • Salvia
  • John’s Wort
  • Tansy
  • Yarrow
  • Marjoram
  • Feverfew
  • Lavender

You can make some adorable lifted gardens that are as lovely as they are useful, too. There are tons of DIY ideas floating around the web on sites like Pinterest.

With careful planning, you can create a barrier of “icky” herbs your chickens disapprove of, and they won’t even try to get to the veggies—or so you hope.

lavender up close
Image Credit: Pixabay

2. Use Gravel, Stone, or Brick

In case you haven’t noticed, chickens absolutely adore areas with loose dirt and plentiful bugs. Your garden is just riddled with goodies that attract them. To keep the area less desirable, use brick, gravel, or stone to reduce the dust and dirt that your chickens crave.

You can get really intricate with a design, making a gorgeous pathway around the garden. Or you can just put a layer of gravel down for practicality rather than aesthetics. In any way, it should reduce the chicken foot traffic around your plants.


3. Give Your Chickens Their Very Own Garden

Your chickens deserve delicious garden veggies—just not on their own terms. If you want to satisfy your clucking friends, you can plant a variety of their favorite items in the area they hang out in so they will avoid your garden entirely.

While every chicken is different, most seem to have a taste for vegetables and fruits like:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Turnip greens
  • Green beans
  • Chard
  • Watermelon
  • Pumpkins
  • Cucumbers
  • Blueberries
  • Grapes

Also, eating garden items can be very good for egg production. The more vitamins and minerals your hens digest, the higher the egg numbers in most cases.

two chickens in the vegetable garden
Image Credit: caseyjadew, Shutterstock

4. Use Citrus Peelings

Chickens absolutely do not enjoy the smell or taste of citrus fruits. To make them think twice about munching on your kale plants, leave some citrus rinds lying about. You can even buy totally safe and organic citrus sprays to deter chickens and other wildlife that might be sneaking around.

You can use citrus peels from leftover fruits you and your family have eaten, as they are totally compostable and terrific for your soil, too.


5. Lessen Weeding

Even though it might cause an eyesore and make your inner perfectionist shiver, you might want to stop weeding the garden. The less access your chickens have to the fresh, dusty dirt they so love to revel in, the better off you’ll be—and so will your veggies.

It may not look the best, but it can be beneficial. Just remember that some weeds can deplete the nutrients from your veggies, so remove any life-draining plant life.


6. Secure Fencing

Naturally, fencing is an option. Although, fencing can get pricey, depending on the kind of material you use.

Many terrific options to keep chickens out are:

  • Classic chicken wire
  • Hardwire cloth
  • Pallet boards
fenced garden
Image Credit: Pixabay

7. Plant Smart

To fool your chickens, plant their least favorite snacks around the outside of the garden. They tend to stay clear of salty, sour, and bitter flavors. Chickens don’t seem to be huge fans of hot peppers, either.

So, if you want to test out a few veggies to see which your chickens avoid, you can plant these items around the perimeter of your garden.


8. Use Decoys

Even though chickens can be annoyingly curious at times, they are also fraidy cats. You can make tons of DIY projects that will scare off your chickens. You can even get noisemakers that are motion activated to make them really think twice about entering the garden of doom.


9. Install a Sprinkler System

Chickens don’t take too kindly to getting sprayed with water. Installing a sprinkler system isn’t just a surefire way to keep chickens out of your garden, it will also help your plant life thrive as well. And hey—you won’t have to do so much hard work.

On a side note, if you also have ducks—this might actually attract them. And they won’t have a problem munching on your greens, either.

garden with sprinkler system
Image Credit: Pixabay

10. Create a Movable Coop

While it might take some creative inspiration and direction, you could always make a movable coop. What is that, you ask? Essentially, it’s a coop on wheels so you can easily place it where you please.

The concept is that you can move the coop to different areas of the yard, giving your chickens the nutritional benefit of free-ranging but the protection of being contained.


11. Plant Barrier Foliage

Chickens don’t have a hard time getting somewhere if they really want to. But what they can’t see might just make them forget there’s a garden altogether. Plant life-like shrubs will obstruct your chicken’s view, plus, they look gorgeous in a home setting.

Some good barrier plants include:

  • Bamboo
  • Bush roses
  • Shrubs

But you can mull over many more options specific to your region.


12. Train Your Dog

Does your dog like to exercise their guard dog instincts? You can train your dog to keep your chickens in line. You have to be careful here—a spunky or aggressive dog can hurt and kill chickens. Plus, lots have high prey drives for such creatures. Always make sure to implement safety first.

But if you command your dog to essentially “scare off” the chickens every time they get near the garden, it can work wonders.

brown dog guarding the garden
Image Credit: Pixabay

13. Train Your Chickens

Contrary to popular belief, chickens are not stupid creatures. If you don’t want them to do something, disapproving of the behavior every time can cause some shifts.

Now, at first, they might not listen. But after being shooed away from the garden so many times, eventually, they’ll get the drift. If you use this tactic with a few others, your chickens can be perfect gentlemen and ladies.

new chicken divider

Conclusion

Hopefully, you’re leaving here with some good ideas to implement in your garden to protect it from sneaky beaks. Of course, you can use one, or most of these ideas—but something is sure to outsmart your poultry.

Remember that chickens really benefit from fresh fruits and veggies in their diet. So, while you don’t want them snacking on your vegetable garden, they really could use some garden scraps at your discretion.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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