Are your chickens constantly getting into something they shouldn’t? Chickens like gardens because they have dirt, bugs (food!), and plants (more food!) If putting up a fence isn’t feasible, you may wonder about the best ways to keep chickens out of gardens without that fencing.
To keep chickens out of gardens, use citrus rinds or juice, add shrubs as a barrier, introduce herbs and scents chickens dislike, and make your chickens their own garden. You can also put up decoys and minimize the amount of weeding you do to make your garden less appealing to them.
It’s also vital to know why you should keep chickens out of your garden. Your friendly backyard neighbor might produce many eggs for you, but they can also create a lot of trouble. So, let’s discuss why you should keep chickens out of your garden and how to fix the issue permanently.
Why Keep Chickens Out Of Your Garden?
While chickens are super awesome and can bring a lot of things to your life (hello, fresh eggs), they also can wreak havoc on your garden.
Chickens love eating bugs, so they will gladly take care of the ones invading your garden. However, now that means you have bugs and chickens in your garden. They also love fruits and vegetables, so your garden is a buffet for them.
Although, do not let them fool you. Chickens enjoy much more than the produce in your garden. Have you caught your chickens going after the mulch in your garden? Why is mulch so enticing to chickens?
Chickens know to look for bugs in the mulch and will dig until their heart’s content. For the record, mulch usually isn’t harmful to chickens if they ingest it.
While you probably don’t want them messing up your neat mulch, you also don’t want them eating anything toxic. So, it’s always best to do a little research before picking up a bag of mulch because it’s not all created equal.
If you are trying to keep your chickens away from mulch, add a Boknight Bird Netting on top to prevent them from digging. The heavy-duty netting is easy to install and can be cut to fit any size garden you are trying to protect.
Your chickens won’t enjoy the feeling of the net under their feet and will avoid it at all costs.
You can also spread certain scents like mint or cinnamon over the mulch to keep chickens out of your garden.
Finally, chickens can get mites, lice, and other parasites, which is not something you want near the food you’ll eat for dinner. Unfortunately, parasites can transfer from one bird to the next, so you don’t know which of your chickens is affected.
According to the CDC, chickens can cause various afflictions in humans, and it’s recommended to always wash your hands after touching the animals.
How To Keep Chickens Out Of Gardens Permanently
You’ve come to the right place if you wonder how to keep chickens out of your garden. If well taken care of, chickens can be great to have around. They can give you plenty of fresh eggs and is a great learning experience for everyone in your family!
Chicken eggs are a fantastic source of vitamins, protein, and lipids, so there’s no question you would want to add a flock to your backyard.
As a quick note about raising chickens, according to the University of Minnesota Extension, hens can start laying eggs when they are about six months old and can continue laying eggs for five to ten years. However, you will reap the most benefits in the first year or two.
It would help if you also had a suitable chicken coop to ensure they were safe from night predators. When finding the proper enclosure, ensure it is big enough to fit the number of chickens you have or plan to raise.
For example, the Omnitree Large Wood Chicken Coop will comfortably fit four to eight chickens. The solid wood coop is equipped with three nesting boxes and is built with excellent ventilation.
Even with proper housing, chickens can cause many problems to your garden, and you’ll want to address the issue before they eat all your prized produce. Once you figure out why chickens are invading your garden, it’s vital to work towards keeping them out permanently.
While it’s crucial to keep your chickens safe from predators, they can be a predator to your precious garden. However, following a few helpful steps can prove fruitful in the long run.
If you’d like to dive more into the predator prey relationship with chickens, take a look at our guide on keeping foxes away from your chickens here!
Now onto the good part! Let’s discuss the best ways to keep chickens out of gardens without fencing.
Use Citrus Juice Or Rinds To Keep Chickens Out
If you have chickens, you want to save the rinds from your oranges or lemons. Place the rinds around the area you are trying to protect.
Chickens dislike the powerful smell and citrus and will make their way elsewhere when they smell it.
You can also use citrus juices to keep chickens out of gardens, but you will have to reapply them anytime the soil gets wet.
If you compost, it should be easy to collect citrus rinds. However, if you don’t, it’s recommended to leave a special container out for rinds to ensure you don’t accidentally throw them away.
If you are looking for an easy way to compost, check out the Vivosun Outdoor Tumbling Composter. The compost bin holds up to 43 gallons and has a unique 360-degree tumbling design to make mixing compost easy. It also has two chambers with sliding doors for easy use.
Finally, since citrus isn’t toxic to chickens, you can feel comfortable adding it as a deterrent. However, they will be put off by the potent scent and leave your garden alone.
Add Shrubs To Your Garden To Block Chickens Off
Adding shrubs to your garden can help create a barrier and prevent your chicken from gaining access. Instead of installing a fence, add a line of shrubs and bushes to keep the chickens out of your garden.
To make it even more of a deterrent, pick plants chickens don’t like. Chickens usually aren’t fans of marigold, St. John’s wort, and yarrow. We will go over their least favorite herbs in just a moment.
In addition to keeping chickens away, you also add some beautiful plants and flowers to your garden. While it can be pricey, it’s still more efficient than installing a fence.
Finally, the taller a plant can grow, the better. Consider planting some taller bushes or shrubs to keep chickens away if you have the space.
Use Herbs And Other Scents To Keep Chickens Out
Chickens have a strong sense of smell, and you can use this to your advantage when trying to keep them out of your garden.
There are certain herbs that chickens dislike, including lavender, oregano, thyme, spearmint, and catnip. While chickens may not like their scent, you will benefit from having additional items growing in your garden.
To make it more efficient, plant the herbs around the perimeter of your garden to prevent entry. Chickens dislike the scents of certain herbs, and they can be vital in keeping chickens out.
If you’d like, you can read in-depth about the scents that chickens hate here!
You can also use many of the same fragrances, like essential oils. However, like the citrus juice, you will need to reapply after rainstorms.
Additional scents that chickens don’t like are cinnamon, garlic, peppermint, and chives. Whether you have to raid your spice cabinet or plant some fresh herbs, adding extra scents to your garden can help keep chickens out.
Finally, if you go the seedling route, keep in mind the chickens may dig them up before they grow. For example, consider buying plants to introduce the aroma early on.
If you are keen on seedlings, place stones or bricks around them to prevent your chickens from getting to them.
Make Your Chickens A Garden
If you don’t want chickens in your garden, make them their own. You can create an oasis with everything your chicken could dream of, and it will be far enough away from your garden to cause confusion.
While you still want to ensure you protect your garden from pests, by giving your chickens their own space, they will soon forget about your prize garden.
In addition, to make your chickens content, plant some of their favorite things, like sunflowers and berries. You can also have a specific area with plenty of dust and dirt, so your chickens are no longer attracted to your garden.
Choose a spot within a short walk from their coop, so the chickens can quickly get to it each morning.
The more appealing you make your chicken’s unique garden, the greater the chance they will leave your precious garden alone. Ensure you maintain their space and have a shady spot for them to escape the sun.
Finally, as mentioned before, chickens love mulch, so don’t forget to add some to your chicken’s garden. It will help keep them out of your mulch.
Use Bricks And Stones Around Your Garden
Instead of fencing, consider adding bricks or stones around your garden. Bricks and stones make for a cleaner area, which is not as appealing to chickens. They want to dig through the dirt for their next meal, and having a clean-cut area with bricks will prevent it.
You will need to ensure the stones aren’t small enough for the chickens to scratch. You also don’t need to build a wall of stones or bricks; simply placing them at the base of your plants will deter chickens.
Therefore, a chicken cannot move sturdy bricks and stones and will have them move on to the next plant. (Hopefully, far away from your garden!) If too much work is involved, a chicken won’t bother.
To add, you could also use bricks around your coop if you’re worried about chickens running or flying away.
Don’t Weed As Often
While it sounds counterproductive, taking a break from weeding can help keep chickens out of your garden. As you are pulling weeds, you leave bare spots of dirt, which is ideal for chickens to dig for food.
Keep in mind you should still weed your yard so it does not become overgrown, but do your best to keep the weeds around the perimeter of your garden.
Since chickens are prey animals to predators like owls and hawks, you can put up a few decoys around your garden to keep the chickens out.
The GiftExpress Owl Decoy is neat because it has a rotating head for a more realistic look. The problem with using a decoy for chickens is they can catch on to the fact that it’s not a real owl, so the rotating feature helps prevent that.
It’s also recommended to move the decoy around your garden as an additional way to fool the chickens. Unfortunately, the intelligence of chickens is often underrated, so it’s vital to consider that when keeping chickens out of gardens.
You can read more about the things that easily scare chickens in our article!
That’s A Wrap!
There you have it! Our list of the best ways to keep chickens out of your gardens without fencing. Understandably, not everyone can nor wants to add a fence to their yard, but they also want to keep their garden secure.
Chickens can be extraordinary to have around. You can’t beat the fresh eggs they lay, and it’s a rewarding process to own chickens from birth. However, you want to protect your garden to ensure the chickens don’t make a meal out of it.
Remember, the best ways to keep chickens out of gardens without fencing include:
- Adding citrus rinds or juice
- Add shrubs to your garden
- Use herbs and other scents
- Make your chickens a garden
- Use bricks and stones
- Don’t weed as often
- Using decoys
While it may seem difficult to have chickens and a garden but no fence, there are alternatives to putting down a lot of money on a fence. Always remember if one technique doesn’t work, move on to the next one. Chickens are intelligent animals, and you sometimes have to work to outsmart them.
Capoccia, S., Masters, M., & Risser, S. (2018). Urban Chickens as a Pathway for Human Illness: An Examination of Knowledge, Behavior and Risk. Urban Science, 2(1), 25.
Chambers, J. R., Zaheer, K., Akhtar, H., & Abdel-Aal, E.-S. M. (2017). Chicken Eggs. Egg Innovations and Strategies for Improvements, 1–9.
Marino, L. (2017). Thinking chickens: a review of cognition, emotion, and behavior in the domestic chicken. Animal Cognition, 20(2), 127–147.