Two simple ways to keep chickens out of garden beds
"How do you keep your chickens out of your garden?"
I am asked this question nearly every day! Honestly, the first year it was rather easy. Either the flock didn’t notice, or they just didn’t care because they rarely ever got in to our beds. And, when they did it was to dust bath in an open spot where we had yet to plant.
Chickens can destroy a freshly sown garden bed in minutes with their feet. They are actually much more likely to cause damage from scratching with their feet than their beaks. (Well, until they get a taste of your kale)!
I’ve found two easy ways to keep my flock away from the garden (most of the time) when they are free ranging. I sprinkle extra treats around to keep them occupied. My go-tos are oatmeal and black sunflower seeds. If the chickens don’t find them, our neighborhood birds will!
Another suggestion is to plant chicken-resistant plants. There are hundreds of perennials, annuals, herbs and ground cover that chickens will not bother. Here is a list of my favorites:
St Johns Wort
If you are transplanting already established plants from your greenhouse or local nursery, be sure to add extra mulch around the base. This will protect the plant’s from your chickens and support new growth.
We also have a lot of options for them to explore from a grassy yard, under the deck and shady bushes. These options tend to distract them at times from jumping in the garden beds. Keeping your backyard chickens from eating your garden is never as easy as it seems, but with a strong plan and a little bribery (here chicky, chicky) it is possible.