Chook proofing your garden

So when you have chooks you are guaranteed a couple of things; lots of poop and damage to your garden plus eggs hopefully. Most people fence their chickens into their own area but I’ve fenced my garden in and my chooks out. Since I have four orpingtons (ie massive chooks!) they create a huge mess in my garden. Last winter I had no garden at all since the girls were completely free range. So lots of fences it is. Actually the girls could easily fly/ jump over all these cages/ fences if they wanted to but thankfully they haven’t worked this out yet! Here is how I keep my garden and have chooks as well.

So first off Mr Ecochick built me one chicken tractor to keep the girls in and work over my raised beds. The plan was to move the tractor so the girls could work over the different beds for me. Very soon I had three cages; one over each of my raised beds to keep the chickens out. This works well since the cages are high enough to deter the girls and when I want the beds worked over I can simply throw the girls in.


Next Mr Ecochick made me a fence to keep the chooks off by deck. I was so over the chooks digging up my herbs and saffron (I don’t even know if I still have bulbs in there only time will tell! Grr) plus they ate all the silverbeet in the side garden.  Not to mention them pooping ALL over my deck and they always sat on my backdoor mat harassing us at the backdoor. This fence looks great, was easy to make and didn’t cost much.

chickens_garden_keepingoutI then used the old rabbit day run to corner off the garden under the apple tree. This fence is made from an old dog crate and a fireguard wired together. This fence leans on the deck fence and the boundary fence. The cool thing about using this fence is I can open one section like a gate and go into the garden to harvest yummies.

chickens_garden_keepingoutTo protect my bee and insect garden I hammered in (yep hammered using a 8 pound sledge hammer I tell you I did not need to do anymore exercise that day!) some metal poles then cut some chicken wire in half and tied these onto the poles.

The girls could easily fly/ hop over this fence but so far they have only gone underneath so I fixed this by stapling the wire to the wooden edging. since doing this the chooks have stayed out of this garden. I suspect I might need to take the chicken wire down and out up full height chicken wire instead.

chickens_garden_keepingout To protect my yellow raspberries I used some leftover plastic mess from a friend’s place. I weaved some metal poles through the mesh and pushed the poles into the soil. Best things is I can just pull one of the poles out to do a little weeding without taking the whole fence down.    chickens_garden_keepingout

The last way I keep my girls off plants is to use an empty hanging basket that I simply pop upside down over my precious plants. This works really well especially if you are using container planters. You can also use this method on small plants you don’t want dug up; this works especially well if you pin the basket into the soil otherwise the chooks will move the basket and plant around.

chickens_garden_keepingoutThese fences, gates and cages have allowed me to have a garden and plenty of fresh produce all summer and allowed my chickens to free range over the rest of the property. How do you protect your garden from your chickens?  eco_living_nz

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3 thoughts on “Chook proofing your garden

  1. February 10, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Hi Madeleine, thanks for sharing this. I am sure this info will come in handy as we are getting our first chooks next week! We put it off as we were heading overseas last year (as you know 🙂 ) but finally the time has come! We have a large unused space at the back of the orchard (which was overgrown with weeds) so going to build a home for them there and will let them out to ‘free-range’ during the day. But I am sure we will need to fence some of the garden beds off also.

    1. February 10, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Wow how super exciting. Can’t believe you’re getting chooks. You’re so going to LOVE them they are so super funny!! Well worth the hours of laughter! What type are you getting? For sure fence off anything you don’t want eaten and destroyed as I promise you they will seek and conquer!! Sounds like the perfect space for some free ranging chooks. You’ll love how amazing your own eggs taste! Enjoy doll cant wait to see photos. Please ask any questions you might have or anything you want to know. On that note must do a chicken’s basics blog post! Good idea. Will get onto that. Mx

  2. Fanny Winterbottom
    February 10, 2014 at 11:19 am

    We’ve pretty much done the same as you: we made a topless chicken wire cage around 2 of our raised gardens and created a chicken wire fence either side of the house so the chooks have the back half of the section. I have also slapped up chicken wire around our tomatoes and a mussel buoy with lettuce and capsicums in it. When we’re home we open the fences so they have the run of the property. They could fly over the chicken wire if they wanted to but it doesn’t seem to have occurred to them. I was going to fence the corn off but they don’t seem to make too much of a mess in there although they LOVE digging under our citrus trees! They often camp out on our doorstep – they seem to think they should be indoor chickens and you have to race them to the front door! 😀