How to Keep Chickens Out of the Garden Without Fencing




how to keep chickens out of the garden without fencing

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As a gardener, you take great pride in your lush green garden brimming with fresh vegetables and breathtaking flowers, but chickens can wreak havoc on your hard work. These adorable little creatures not only scratch and dig into the soil but also feast on your plants causing significant damage.

Fear not! In this blog post, we’ll explore how to keep chickens out of the garden without fencing, using natural deterrents and creative solutions that are both practical and affordable for the beginner gardener.

Key Takeaways

  • Chickens can cause significant damage to gardens by scratching, digging up soil, and eating plants and vegetables.
  • Several natural methods can be used to keep chickens out of the garden without resorting to fencing, including building a wattle fence, using scarecrow sprinklers or introducing herbs and scents that chickens dislike.
  • Non-fencing solutions such as creating a designated chicken area or planting chicken-resistant plants are also effective in deterring chickens from the main garden area.
  • It is important to stay vigilant by consistently reinforcing boundaries and monitoring for new activity while keeping your garden tidy and well-maintained.

Why Chickens Can Be A Problem In The Garden

Chickens can be a problem in the garden because they tend to scratch and dig up soil, eat plants and vegetables, and leave droppings behind.

Scratching And Digging

One of the primary reasons chickens can wreak havoc in your garden is their propensity for scratching and digging. As part of their natural behavior, these birds use their feet to scratch away at the soil, searching for insects and other tasty morsels hidden beneath the surface.

For example, imagine you’ve just planted rows of delicate seedlings – only to find them uprooted and destroyed by your curious flock’s digging escapades. Scratching not only disturbs plant roots but also causes soil erosion around cultivated areas that might lead to further problems down the line.

This makes it crucial to find effective ways to keep chickens out of the garden without resorting to fencing if possible.

Eating Plants And Vegetables

Chickens love to peck at plants and vegetables, which can be a huge problem for gardeners. They will scratch up soil looking for tasty bugs, and they devour young seedlings.

Chickens also have no qualms about eating almost anything that’s green. This means your precious crops are not safe around free-range chickens unless you take steps to protect them.

It is important to note that some plants are toxic to chickens, so make sure you research what types of vegetation can cause harm if ingested before planting in areas where chickens roam freely.

To prevent chickens from munching on your hard-grown produce, consider using natural methods like introducing herbs with scents they dislike or incorporating scarecrow sprinklers into your garden design.

Natural Methods To Keep Chickens Out Of Your Garden

Natural methods such as building a wattle fence, using scarecrow sprinklers or introducing scents and herbs that chickens dislike can keep your garden chicken-free.

Build A Wattle Fence

One natural method to keep chickens out of your garden is to build a wattle fence. This type of fence is easy to construct and can be made from available materials in your yard or nearby areas. Here’s how to build a wattle fence:

  1. Gather slender branches or sticks such as willow, hazelnut, or bamboo.
  2. Drive sturdy stakes into the ground where you want the fence.
  3. Weave the branches between and around the stakes, alternating over and under each branch until you reach your desired height.
  4. Trim any excess branches and tie off the ends with twine for added support.

Wattle fences are an inexpensive option that provides a natural look while also keeping chickens out of your garden. They’re also environmentally friendly since they require no hardware and use renewable materials.

Use Scarecrow Sprinklers

Scarecrow sprinklers are an effective and humane way to keep chickens out of your garden without using fencing. These gadgets release a jet of water when they detect movement, scaring off the chicken. Here are some tips on how to set up scarecrow sprinklers in your garden:

  • Place the scarecrow sprinklers at strategic locations throughout your garden.
  • Make sure the detector is pointed towards the area where the chickens usually enter.
  • Fill the reservoir with water and adjust the sensitivity level to suit your needs.
  • Turn on the water valve and test it out to ensure that it’s working correctly.
  • Check regularly if there is enough water in the reservoir.

Scarecrow sprinklers are easy to install and can be used as a temporary or permanent solution to keep chickens out of gardens. They can also help keep other pests away, such as rabbits, deer, and squirrels. However, be aware that they use water, so make sure you’re not wasting precious resources in areas with limited access to clean water.

Use Citrus Rinds Or Juice

Citrus is a natural chicken deterrent due to its strong scent and bitter taste. Here are some ways you can use citrus to keep chickens out of your garden:

Remember that the effectiveness of this method may vary depending on the breed and personality of your chickens. It’s also important to reapply citrus regularly, especially after rain or watering.

Add Shrubs As A Barrier

Shrubs can be a great addition to your garden for more reasons than one. Not only can they liven up the look of your outdoor space and provide some privacy, but they can also serve as a natural barrier to keep chickens out of your garden. Here are some shrubs you can consider planting:

  • Barberry: The prickly branches of this beautiful shrub make it difficult for chickens to get through.
  • Boxwood: This hardy shrub is ideal for defining boundaries and keeping chickens out.
  • Holly: With razor-sharp leaves, holly makes an effective barrier against poultry.
  • Privet: This fast-growing evergreen is both dense and durable enough to keep chickens at bay.

Planting any of these shrubs around the perimeter of your garden will create an obstacle that chickens will find difficult to navigate. Make sure to plant them close enough together so there are no gaps or holes where the birds can slip through. Moreover, by using plants like these as barriers, you not only protect your garden from chickens but also enhance its beauty with minimal effort!

Introduce Herbs And Scents Chickens Dislike

Chickens are deterred by certain scents and herbs. Here are some to consider planting around your garden:

  • Lavender: Chickens dislike the strong scent of lavender, making it an excellent choice for deterring them from your garden.
  • Marigold: Not only does marigold help repel chickens, but it also attracts pollinators, making it a useful herb to plant throughout your garden.
  • Rosemary: Chickens do not like the strong scent of rosemary, making it an effective natural deterrent that can also provide fresh herbs for cooking.
  • Mint: Planting mint around the perimeter of your garden can help keep chickens away, as they do not like the scent.
  • Chives: Chives possess a pungent odor that chickens find unappealing, and they can be used in cooking as well.

Remember to plant these herbs far from your chicken’s feeding area so that you avoid any contact with their food. Additionally, make sure you do not overuse strong-scented herbs in your garden beds as this may make them less effective over time.

Use Motion-activated Sprinklers

Motion-activated sprinklers are a great way to keep chickens out of the garden without fencing. These sprinklers detect movement and spray water, scaring away the chickens. Here’s how to use them:

  • Install the motion-activated sprinkler in your garden.
  • Adjust the sensitivity of the motion detector and the length of time that it sprays water.
  • Set it up so that it covers areas where the chickens tend to enter your garden.
  • Turn the sprinkler on when you’re not in your garden.

Motion-activated sprinklers are a humane and effective way to keep chickens out of your garden, while also providing an entertaining spectacle for you and your family.

Non-Fencing Methods For Detering Chickens

– Planting chicken-resistant plants: Research and choose plants that chickens are less likely to eat or damage.

– Creating a designated chicken area: Provide chickens with their own space to roam and forage, away from your garden.

– Using physical barriers like netting or wire: Cover your garden beds with protective materials to prevent chickens from scratching and digging.

– Distracting chickens with treats and toys: Offer distractions like food scraps or hanging toys to keep them occupied elsewhere.

Planting Chicken-resistant Plants

If you’re having trouble keeping your chickens out of your garden, planting chicken-resistant plants is a great way to discourage them from coming back. Here are some plants that chickens don’t particularly enjoy:

  • Marigolds: Chickens dislike the pungent smell of marigolds, so planting these around the border of your garden can help keep them away.
  • Lavender: If you’re looking for a beautiful and fragrant addition to your garden, lavender is a great option. Chickens don’t like its strong scent and tend to avoid it.
  • Lemon balm: Another herb with a strong scent that repels chickens is lemon balm. It’s also a great choice if you’re looking for an herb to use in cooking or teas.
  • Catnip: Aside from being a favorite of cats, catnip is another herb that chickens don’t like. Plant it around the perimeter of your garden to keep them at bay.
  • Nasturtiums: These colorful flowers not only add beauty to your garden but also make it less appealing to chickens. Their peppery taste and smell deter chickens from eating them or getting too close.

By incorporating these plants into your garden, you can create a natural barrier that discourages chickens from entering. Plus, they’ll add some color and fragrance to your space!

Creating A Designated Chicken Area

If keeping chickens out of your garden is not an option, creating a designated chicken area is one solution. Here are some tips for creating a safe and separate space for your feathered friends:

  • Choose a spot: Pick an area of your yard that is far enough away from your garden but still easily accessible to you and the chickens.
  • Prepare the space: Depending on your location and climate, you may need to level out the land or add soil to help with drainage. Consider adding a coop or shelter where the chickens can roost and lay their eggs.
  • Set up fencing: Use hardware cloth or chicken wire to create a perimeter around the designated area. Make sure the fence goes deep enough into the ground to prevent predators from burrowing underneath it.
  • Add food and water stations: Place food and water containers within easy reach of the chickens but away from any potential hazards like electrical outlets or standing water.
  • Consider shade and shelter options: Chickens need protection from extreme heat or cold weather, so make sure there are plenty of shady spots for them to rest in during hot summer days, as well as shelter from rain, wind, and snow.
  • Keep it clean: Regularly scoop up manure and other debris to prevent disease buildup. You can compost chicken waste for use in your garden or dispose of it properly.

By creating a designated chicken area, you can allow your birds free-range access while also protecting your precious plants in the garden. Remember to always monitor your chickens’ behavior and adjust their living conditions accordingly to ensure they are healthy and safe.

Using Physical Barriers Like Netting Or Wire

If you’re looking for a simple way to keep chickens out of your garden without using fencing, consider using physical barriers like netting or wire. Here are some tips:

  • Install a low fence around raised garden beds using chicken wire or hardware cloth.
  • Cover plants with bird netting to protect them from chickens.
  • Use mesh netting or wire mesh to create a barrier around the perimeter of your garden.
  • Secure netting or wire to stakes or posts to create a sturdy barrier that will keep chickens out.

Remember, while physical barriers can be effective in keeping chickens out of your garden, they require regular maintenance and monitoring. Check your barriers regularly for any damage or gaps where chickens may be able to enter. By consistently reinforcing boundaries and using a variety of methods, you can successfully keep chickens away from your precious plants and vegetables.

Distracting Chickens With Treats And Toys

Chickens can be easily distracted by toys and treats, which can help keep them out of your garden. Here are some ideas:

  • Hang a head of cabbage or lettuce from a tree or fence post to create a “chicken pinata” that will keep them busy for hours.
  • Use chicken scratch feed in a treat ball or scatter it around the designated chicken area to encourage chickens to stay in one spot.
  • Place a mirror near the chicken coop or run to provide entertainment and prevent boredom.
  • Give chickens access to a dust bath area filled with dirt, sand, and wood ash. This will satisfy their natural desire to scratch and roll around while keeping them away from the garden.
  • Provide perches, swinging toys, and other items for chickens to play with in their designated area.

Remember that while these methods can be effective, they should not be relied upon as the sole means of keeping chickens out of your garden. Consistent reinforcement of boundaries and use of physical barriers or natural deterrents is important for long-term success.

Utilizing Scare Tactics

Scare tactics can be effective in deterring chickens from entering your garden. Here are a few examples:

  • Use reflective surfaces, such as old CDs or mirrors, to create flashes of light that will startle and scare chickens.
  • Hang up wind chimes or other noisy objects near the garden to create unfamiliar sounds that will deter chickens from entering.
  • Place balloons or scarecrows in the garden to spook chickens and make them think there is danger around.
  • Install fake predators, such as plastic owls or snakes, near the garden to make chickens think there are predators nearby.

Remember to mix up your scare tactics so that the chickens don’t get used to them over time. By using a combination of these methods together with physical barriers and natural deterrents, you can keep your garden free of chickens without having to resort to fencing.

How To Prevent Future Chicken Incursions

Monitor for new chicken activity regularly. Reinforce boundaries by creating a designated area for chickens and using physical barriers like netting or wire. Keep garden areas tidy and well-maintained to deter chickens from returning.

Use scare tactics and distraction techniques, such as treats and toys, to keep the chickens away from your garden.

Monitoring For New Chicken Activity

To prevent future chicken incursions, it’s crucial to monitor your garden regularly for any signs of new chicken activity. Keep an eye out for droppings, feathers, or scratch marks on the ground.

Consistently maintaining a tidy and well-maintained garden will also help deter chickens from entering. By eliminating potential food sources like fallen fruits or seeds scattered on the ground, you can reduce the likelihood of attracting unwanted visitors.

Consistently Reinforcing Boundaries

Once you have established deterrents and barriers to keep chickens out of your garden, it’s essential to consistently reinforce the boundaries you’ve established. Chickens can be persistent critters, so regularly checking for new chicken activity is crucial.

Ensure that your fence and other barriers are still intact and tightly secured.

Besides monitoring, keeping your garden tidy and well-maintained will help deter chickens from entering. Chickens love patches of fresh dirt where they can scratch around looking for bugs and worms, so covering bare earth with branches or stones can minimize their interest.

Finally, remember that prevention is always better than cure.

Keeping Garden Areas Tidy And Well-maintained

It’s important to keep your garden areas tidy and well-maintained when trying to keep chickens out. Chickens are often attracted to gardens that have overgrown weeds, dropped fruit, or other debris on the ground.

Regularly trimming back plants and trees can also help prevent chickens from being able to roost or scratch in certain spots. Additionally, keeping your garden mulched can make it less attractive as a place for chickens because they prefer bare dirt where they can dust bathe.


Keeping chickens out of your garden can be a challenging task, but there are several natural methods you can use to protect your plants and vegetables. From building a wattle fence to using scarecrow sprinklers and introducing herbs and scents chickens dislike, these tactics will help deter chickens from entering your garden area without having to resort to fencing.

Remember to stay vigilant by consistently reinforcing boundaries and monitoring for new activity, as well as keeping your garden tidy and well-maintained.

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