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How To Keep Free-Range Chickens Out Of Gardens Without Big Fencing?

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Many chicken owners think it’s impossible to keep a beautiful garden, especially while free-ranging. There is this stigma that chickens destroy everything in their path. No flower, plant, or blade of grass is safe if you have chickens. But that isn’t true. There are many ways to keep free-range chickens out of gardens without big fencing. Here are the best ideas to keep chickens out of flower beds.

#1 Deterring Plants

Most plants are attractive to hens because they smell sweet and delicious. One way to combat this is to plant flowers that smell bad to them. We aren’t talking about going out and buying the stinkiest flowers you can find. A better approach is to grow things like lavender, spearmint, or starflowers. These flowers smell heavenly to us but unappetizing to chickens. 

You can plant a barrier around your garden using these flowers as a beautiful fence. Usually, the scent is so strong that chickens don’t attempt to see what’s beyond them. If chickens decide to explore past them, you can try spraying a little essential oil around the soil. These essential oils are great as a natural deterrent. 

#2 Spices 

My neighbors chickens are a nuisance, and I want a quick fix. Some herbs can ward off chickens. What spices keep chickens away that you already have? Things like pepper, paprika, salt, cayenne, and garlic powder can keep your chickens out. You can use these spices safely in your garden and around your home to keep chickens away. 

#3 Distance

How to keep chickens out of the garden without fencing? Distance! If you have a large property, keep the coop as far away from the garden as possible. Most chickens stick to smaller areas around their coop for safety reasons. With a garden oasis close to the house and chickens in a designated area further away, you should have no problems.

#4 Don’t Plant Their Favorites

To keep chickens out of flower garden, don’t plant their favorites. Things like violets, marigolds, roses, sunflower seeds, and lilac are their favorites. Growing these types of flowers will only want your chickens to get them even more. All the space in the world wouldn’t keep your flock from smelling them. 

Some people go as far as to plant flowers that aren’t healthy for chickens. The thought behind doing this is that chickens generally avoid toxic plants. We wouldn’t recommend this, though. If your chickens were to get into your flowers and eat something poisonous, it could be a disaster for your whole flock. 

#5 Chicken Garden

What’s the best way to keep free range chickens out of gardens without big fencing? Make your chickens their own garden. Planting a mixture of their favorite vegetables, herbs, grass, flowers, and even weeds make the best chicken gardens. 

If you have a tasty garden right in their free-roaming area, they likely won’t go far. Plus, having a chicken garden will give your hens unique foraging materials. Their eggs will be larger and richer in flavor. Just make sure that all the plants are safe and pesticide-free. 

#6 Hardware Cloth

If you’re wondering how to stop chickens from destroying garden seedlings, hardware cloth is your best friend. We aren’t saying to make a fence, but cut small squares to use as protection. Placing these over the top of seedlings will keep your hens from scratching around at them. 

These pieces of metal are great because it also allows for sun and water to seep through. You never have to worry about them dying or not getting what they need. Once the roots have established themselves, you can remove the hardware with ease. This cheap solution will help any gardener. 

#7 Tiles And Garden Stones

How do I keep chickens out of mulch? Garden stones in mulch beds will keep your chickens from scratching around and can add a little personality. It’s also possible to put tiles are the base of plants that your hens won’t leave alone. The tiles don’t feel great on their feet, and they won’t try to scratch around it. Tiles also pull double duty and prevent chickens from pecking at the ground around plant roots. 

#8 Bug Deterring Plants

Maybe your flock isn’t interested in the flowers, but bugs instead. Foraging for bugs is a healthy source of protein. But you don’t want them to do it in your garden, or they might destroy the flowers. Instead of keeping your chickens out, you could plant bug deterrent flowers. 

These flowers like lemongrass, citronella, mint, and lavender repel bugs. Without bugs, your hens will go somewhere else to find their insects. You could also try to use this method along with buying mealworms as a treat. Mealworms are a great snack that comes packed with protein. 

#9 Raised Beds

Chickens can get into almost anything. But if it’s not in their line of sight, they might leave it alone. Raised beds are great for this. Not only does it allow you to have any garden you want, but it also saves your back. These beds are best for people who only want a small garden. But don’t assume that it means you can’t have a beautiful landscape. 

Many people position these in tasteful ways along with garden ornaments. You could even design your own unique shapes, like a pyramid. Flowers arranged in this way look fantastic and gives you the joy of gardening in your style. This could be your best option on how to have free range chickens and a garden. 

#10 Shrub Barriers

We all remember The Secret Garden, a classic novel about a hidden oasis. You can have your own hidden oasis in your backyard. By planting some shrubs and bushes, you can create a living fence. And if you add an antique gate or doorway, it adds even more to the effect. 

This method isn’t the cheapest route, but it is stunning. It keeps chickens out of flower garden and adds to a particular mystery. 

#11 Hanging Plants

Like raised beds, hanging plants keep hens from seeing your prized flowers. You can add these to your house, porch, even the coop itself. They can be your spots of color in a mundane world. You might not have the ability of a full garden, but they are still soothing. There are even unique hanging pots for fruits and vegetables. 

#12 Smaller Flocks

Keeping a smaller flock can prevent them from roaming into your garden. The average flock for the suburbs is about five hens. With only 5, they are less likely to destroy a flower garden in one afternoon. It’s also easier to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t go near your flower garden. 

#13 Chicken Tractor

Tractors might not let your hens free-range, but it has the same benefits. If you can’t keep free-range chickens out of gardens without big fencing, this is a great compromise. You can move the tractor around daily for new foraging areas and keep your garden safe. It’s also possible to give your hens some supervised roaming time when you can watch them. 

#14 Fake Owl Or Hawk

How to keep neighbors chickens out of my yard? A dummy predator might just work. Chickens are prey animals and won’t want to go near your yard if they think it is home to an owl. But chickens are also smart. So for this to work, you need to move it around frequently. Place it in places where they will see, but also looks natural. Even springing for a fake owl that has sound and moves might work better. 

#15 Motion Activated Sprinklers

And our last tip is to use motion activated sprinklers. Setting these up around your garden will scare off any bird that comes too close. After a while, it even trains them not to try. And the best part is that it keeps other animals out as well. 

What About Electric Fences?

You might have noticed that we did not mention electric fencing. You might wonder, will electric fences keep chickens out of the garden? Electric fences have some fantastic advantages, but keeping chickens contained is not one of them. 

The reason for this is that chickens need to have direct skin contact for the fence to work. Most of the time that a chicken comes in contact with fencing, only their feathers touch it. So they don’t feel the shock most of the time. 

How To Keep Chickens Off The Porch

Our last point is keeping your chickens off the porch. While they won’t hurt anything, they can be rather messy. The best way to keep chickens off your patio is to find out why they are there. If there is anything to eat or something they like to play with, remove it, and the chickens will go. 

Another reason your hens might be relaxing on the porch is for shade. Making sure that the coop is adequately ventilated and cool in the summer will solve this. Other than this, chickens don’t usually like to hang out on the porch much. 

What Tricks Do You Use?

It’s possible to keep free-range chickens out of gardens without big fencing. And there are so many possibilities. What tricks did you use? Did you try a few that weren’t here? Let us know! 

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