How to Keep Chickens Out of Your Garden the Easy Way

If you or one of your close-by neighbors has chickens, then you know that chickens get into everything. They’ll peck for bugs around your yard, get in your garden, and even come up to your porch! Keeping chickens in their place can seem like an impossible task, which is why we’ve put together this guide for how to keep chickens out of your garden (the easy way!).

Let’s get started!

1. Fence Your Garden

The first thing should do, if you haven’t already, is to fence in your garden. Having a barrier between your chickens and garden will prevent wandering hens from pecking their way into your vegetable patch. If your chickens tend to jump over fences, you’ll want to make sure that you install a higher fence around your gardens.

Typically, to prevent chickens or other animals from entering your garden, you’ll want to install a 6-foot tall fence. We also recommend that the fence be made out of material that animals have a harder time climbing, such as wood fences with an overhang at the top.

Alternatively, you can simply install a 6-foot fence made out of chicken wire (click here to see how to do that). This is a much more affordable option, and can even be made a temporary fix until you make other arrangements for your chickens, or can afford a better quality fence for your garden.

Chicken Wire

MTB 20GA Galvanized Hexagonal Poultry Netting Chicken Wire 72 inches x 150 feet x 1 inch Mesh
  • PREMIUM LONG LASTING QUALITY Our poultry netting chicken wire is made using high quality material and galvanized before packing to ensure long-term use. Ideal for making garden fences, chicken enclosure, livestock confinement, runs and cages for pets, lawn netting and more!
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & STURDY: Compared to a plastic chicken wire, our reinforced hexagonal aviary netting are lightweight, sturdy and equally spaced to provide long-term use making them more cost-effective than any other galvanized fencing.
  • SIMPLE & CONVENIENT: Our poultry netting is designed with double direction hexagonal twist while staying flat and straight making it easy to install and trim to your desired size for various applications.
  • SIZE & LENGTH: The size of MTB Galvanized Hexagonal Poultry is made from 20 gauge steel wire with 1"x1" hexagonal mesh opening. Measures 72-inch width by 150 feet length giving you enough to make a wire fence for garden.
  • THE RIGHT PROTECTION: Whether you want to keep your garden flower bed, vegetable, grape vines, farm field and landscape safe from animals like cat, dog, gopher, goat and pest as repeller, keep chickens from getting out or simply make a protective fence or enclosures, around the house, our rust resistant garden fencing wire has you covered.

Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


2. Use Plants that Repel Chickens

If you don’t want to use conventional methods to keep your free-range chickens out of your gardens, there is a natural alternative: plants.

There are many plants that animals will avoid, generally due to their scent, and chickens are no exception. Some plants that chickens will avoid are:

  • Pot marigolds
  • Lavender
  • Spearmint and Peppermint
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Catmint (or Catnip)

By planting these around your garden, you’ll be providing your fruits and veggies with a natural barrier from your chickens. Plants like spearmint, peppermint, sage, and rosemary have a particularly potent smell to chickens, and can even be plucked and used as another herb in your kitchen!

Keep in mind that while chickens will generally keep away from these plants, if food is scarce, or if they require minerals or insects in their diet that they’re lacking (and know that they can find in your garden), chickens may still wander into your garden to obtain nutrients — plants may not be a one-and-done solution.

You can find these plants at your local plant nursery, or at an online shop.

Peppermint Seeds

 

Seed Needs, Peppermint Herb (Mentha piperita) Twin Pack of 1,000 Seeds Each Non-GMO
  • Quality Peppermint seeds packaged by Seed Needs. Packets are 3.25" wide by 4.50" tall and come with a full colored illustration on the front side, as well as detailed sowing instructions on the reverse.
  • Peppermint is an ancient heirloom that dates back to as early as 1500 B.C. The herb is thought to have originated from North Africa and the Mediterranean, introduced as a natural hybrid cross, between both spearmint and water mint.
  • Its strong scented leaves are crushed and used to flavor chewing gum, breath mints and teas. They are also used in all sorts of shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes and skincare products as well.
  • The plants grow to a mature height of roughly 2 feet tall, displaying dozens of 1 to 2 inch, shiny, bumpy leaves. The stems are red colored and smooth, while it's blooms are a light pink to purple.
  • All Peppermint seeds sold by Seed Needs are Non-GMO based seed products and are intended for the current & the following growing season. All seeds are produced from open pollinated plants, stored in a temperature controlled facility and constantly moved out due to popularity.

Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Sage Seeds

Sow Right Seeds - Sage Seeds for Planting - Non-GMO Heirloom Sage Seeds with Instructions to Plant and Grow Kitchen Herb Garden, Indoor or Outdoor; Great Garden Gift (1)
  • Beautiful -- Large color seed packet of the popular culinary herb Sage (Salvia officinalis); This hardy shrub-like perennial is a staple for a classic herb garden. There are many culinary uses for the flavorful dusty green leaves. Beautiful pink and white flowers in early spring. Minimum of 400 mg per packet.
  • Indoor or Outdoor -- A carefully selected variety that can easily be grown indoors in your kitchen or outdoors in the garden.  There is actually enough seed to do both.
  • Always Have Savory Sage on Hand -  Fresh Sage is an essential ingredient for meat dishes like salmon, chicken, turkey, sausage, and steak.  It also gives a fresh savory flavor to butternut squash, soups, bean dishes, Sage pesto, and cornbread dressing.  Fresh Sage has a rich savory taste and smell that will make your food taste gourmet.
  • Easy to Grow -- Instructions included on each packet with additional growing tips, harvest instructions, recipes, etc. in the “How To” section of our website. Plus we are available to answer your questions as well.  If these seeds don’t germinate, we will happily make it right for you.
  • Safe Seed -- Sow Right Seeds has taken the Safe Seed Pledge and sells only Non-GMO heirloom seeds that are safe for you and your family.

Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Rosemary

Last update on 2020-12-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


3. Use Raised Garden Beds

If you aren’t raising a lot of crops, and only want to have a few small to medium-sized garden beds, you can try converting your gardens into raised garden beds. Waist-high raised garden beds would be excellent for keeping chickens out of your crops.

There are a few ways you can go about obtaining waist-high garden beds. The first is by building your own, which may be ideal for those who are looking for larger options. The second way is by purchasing an already-built waist-high raised garden bed (like the one shown at the bottom of this section).

If you only need a small space to plant herbs, vegetables, or fruits, then we recommend that you purchase a premade raised garden bed. However, you have much more freedom when you build your own, which is our overall recommendation for those that are considering raised garden beds to deter their chickens.

For more on building a waist-high raised garden bed, check out this article. The outline in the guide does have limited space, but it can help to give you a general idea of how a raised garden bed should be built, and you can alter the dimensions to your needs.

Waist-high Raised Garden Bed

 

Sale
Best Choice Products Raised Garden Bed 48x24x30-inch Elevated Wood Planter Box Stand for Backyard, Patio, Natural
  • SPACIOUS GARDENING BED: Designed with a nearly 4-foot-long bed deep enough to ensure your plants and vegetables can breathe and grow healthy
  • DRAINAGE HOLES: Allows excess water to drain out, keeping soil fresh and preventing plants from overwatering
  • ERGONOMIC STRUCTURE: Stands 30 inches tall, making it perfect for those who struggle to bend down or lean over while gardening
  • VERSATILE DESIGN: Adds a new hint of beauty to any part of your home; perfect for placement on the patio, porch, deck, balcony, or in the garden
  • RAISED GARDEN BED LINER: Separates wood from the soil, keeping the wooden garden planter in excellent condition and preventing weeds and pests from interfering with plant growth; OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 48.5"(L) x 23"(W) x 30"(H); Weight Capacity: 34 lbs.

Last update on 2020-12-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


4. Clip Your Chicken’s Wings

If your chickens are flying up to heights that they shouldn’t be able to reach, it may be time to clip your chicken’s wings. If you’re new to rearing chickens, you may be unfamiliar with the practice of clipping wings. Wing clipping is a painless procedure that removes the parts of the animal’s wings that enables them to fly.

How to Clip Wings

If you’re a beginner, here is a quick guide to help you clip your chicken’s wings correctly. For a more in-depth guide to wing clipping, check out this article.

Step 1: Catch and Hold the Chicken

Before you can even begin clipping your chicken’s wings, you’ll first need to catch them. If you have free-range chickens that go all over your property, this may prove to be quite the task. Once you’ve caught your chicken, hold it firmly by placing one hand underneath the chicken’s breast, and the other hand on its back.

Then, you’re in the position to either clip the feathers yourself or have someone help you as you hold the chicken in place.

Step 2: Expand the Wing and Clip the First 10 Feathers

Gently expand the wing with the hand that was placed on the chicken’s back, or have someone do it for you as you hold the chicken steady.

Once the wing is fully extended out from the side of the chicken, and before you begin clipping, take a close look at the first 10 feathers (the primary flight feathers), starting from the top of the wing nearest to the head. If the shaft of the feathers is dark in color, that means there is a blood supply in the newly forming feathers. Do not cut where the feather shafts are dark. This will hurt the chicken.

If the first 10 feathers have shafts that are not darkly colored or are clear/a creamy white, you’re free to start clipping. Clip approximately 6 centimeters off of the feathers. Do not go any further down, and be sure that you remove 6 centimeters, otherwise, your chickens will be able to fly.

Step 3: Allow Your Chicken to Roam or Join the Flock

Once your chicken’s wings have been clipped, they’ll likely be in a fluster and wanting to get away. Allow them to roam freely again and join the flock. If the other chickens in the flock appear agitated at the flustered sight of the clipped chicken, give them a few minutes to calm down before attempting to clip another.


5. Upgrade Your Chicken Run

The final option you can consider to keep chickens out of your garden is upgrading (or building) your chicken run.

Upgrade the Fencing

If the fence isn’t high enough, or needs repairs, make those changes and implement a chicken wire fence of at least 6 feet. You may even want to consider putting an overhang on the fence, in case the chickens try to fly out.

You could also construct a chicken run that is entirely enclosed from top to bottom. This will prevent your chickens from flying out, and predators from flying or climbing in. These chicken runs can be made out of sturdy chicken wire, as well.

Make the Run More Enticing to Your Flock

If upgrading your fence isn’t an option, or you have free-range chickens, make their coop and run area more enticing so that they stay there (and not in your gardens). You can do this by having dirt or sand holes for the chickens to dust in, fresh hay laying around for them to scratch, raising fresh bugs or mealworms near their run for them to feed on; or by having things they can jump on top of, like tree stumps or old chairs.

For more ways to make your chicken run more fun for your chickens, check out this article!

Building a Chicken Run

If you don’t have a chicken run, and you’re having problems with your chickens making their way into your gardens, then you should consider building one. We recommend building a predator-proof chicken run, which is a run that is completely enclosed from top to bottom. Alternatively, you can buy one.

Depending on how many chickens you have, you’ll need to alter the size of the chicken run to accommodate the flock. If you plan to keep your chickens in the run continually, without letting them out, we recommend making the run as large as possible. At the bare minimum, each bird should have 10 square feet of space to roam.

This guide to how to build a chicken run is incredibly informative and uses pictures to showcase the building process step-by-step.

Chicken Run

 

Large Metal Chicken Coop Walk-in Poultry Cage Hen Run House Rabbits Habitat Cage Spire Shaped Coop with Waterproof and Anti-Ultraviolet Cover for Outdoor Backyard Farm Use (10' L x 20' W x 6.4' H)
  • 【Durable Steel Construction】Manufactured with high quality steel frame, the coop is solid enough for your chicken to have free space in it. And it is not easy to damage, which can prolong a long-term service time. Beside, the quick-connect frame allows for easy assembly.
  • 【Great for Outdoor Use】A durable UV and water-resistant cover can protect your chicken from the weather and outside elements. Featuring galvanized coop, it is protective and resists rust, corrosion and fading, so that the coop is weatherproof and of great durability.
  • 【PVC Coated Hexagonal Wire Mesh】The wall of the chicken coop is made of PVC coated hexagonal wire mesh that is too solid and durable to damage. Also, the small gaps between meshes add safety to your chicken that prevent them from some predators.
  • 【Safety Lockable Steel Door Design】Lockable steel door with a latch and steel wire ties for extra safety, and easy for you to feed your chicken and clean the inside. Designed with a number of essential pedestals that make it a wonderful home for any poultry.
  • 【Easy to Clean】The tube of the coop is galvanized so that it is rust resistant and easy to keep a clean environment for your chicken. The smooth surface is easy to clean with a wet cloth or some running water. It offers protection to your pets whilst also gives plenty of room for foraging.

Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Final Thoughts

When it comes to how to keep chickens out of your garden, there are about 5 ways you can go about it: fencing your garden, using plants to repel chickens, utilizing raised garden beds, clipping your flock’s wings, and upgrading or building your chicken run.

All of these methods will be useful in deterring chickens from your enticing fruits and veggies, and if possible, we recommend implementing more than one of these into your property to keep your chickens where you want them. We hope our guide to how to keep chickens out of your garden has been helpful! Happy homesteading!