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6 Methods to Shield Backyard Vegetation from Chickens


Staff member
Mar 21, 2024
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Chickens + Gardens

It looks as if an attractive mixture! However all that’s earlier than they begin pecking fruit and veggies, and all of the countless searching and scratching! Yikes!

So, over time, I’ve developed an arsenal of methods to maintain the peace between my vegetation and my chickens. None of it’s fool-proof, and generally the chickens nonetheless win. However, these strategies (together with rigorous patrols!) have allowed our backyard, our vegetation and our chickens to co-exist in a semi-utopia finally!

My greatest six methods are:

  1. Use cloches
  2. Use rocks (cleverly organized)
  3. Use branches
  4. Flats/trays
  5. Wire
  6. Fences

Let’s dive into these 6 methods and how one can get one of the best outcomes!

A barred chicken stands among green foliage
A barred chicken stands among green foliage

6 Methods to Shield Backyard Vegetation from Chickens

1. Cloches​

Cloches are superb! They’re principally little wire cages in your vegetation. Cloches assist defend vegetation from birds ( you chickens!), squirrels, deer and extra!

It’s also possible to drape floating row cowl over them to additionally defend from pests, like cabbage moth and leaf miners.

A yellow marigold in a garden bed next to a wire cloche and wire fence panel covering the soil
A yellow marigold in a garden bed next to a wire cloche and wire fence panel covering the soil

Cloches might be bought or home made. It’s also possible to use wire mesh wastebaskets! I make my cloches out of hen wire however you too can use heavier-duty wire mesh.

It’s also possible to make them as large or little as you want. Here’s a full tutorial on how I make my hen wire cloches.

I all the time hold a bunch of wire cloches available as a result of they work extremely effectively on our homestead. They’re really easy to put in!

Chicken standing among green foliage
Chicken standing among green foliage

I take advantage of a couple of landscape stakes to safe them and they’ll usually keep in place regardless of intense hen scratching.

As soon as the plant is established, I pull the cloche off and defend the plant (if wanted) utilizing rocks, branches or backyard fencing round its base.

2. Rocks​

When you’ve got a plant that’s already established, however you need to defend the roots, you’ll be able to encompass them with medium-large stones or rocks.

The rocks will assist defend the foundation ball space of the plant. That is particularly useful when you’ve got chickens that scratch in your flower beds.

A decorative wheelbarrow filled with plants and decorative rocks
A decorative wheelbarrow filled with plants and decorative rocks

I do that with plenty of my perennials which are inside “hen territory” and it really works very well! The chickens will scratch throughout them however will usually depart the plant untouched.

With out the rocks, I find yourself with much more root harm because the chickens scratch throughout the poor plant and expose its root ball.

I’ve discovered, although, that the key to success is retaining the rocks near the bottom of the plant in order that the chickens can’t entry the house between the rocks and the plant.

3. Branches​

My neighbor really turned me on to this genius approach to defend backyard vegetation from chickens!

Sadly, she had to make use of it as a result of our chickens began raiding her freshly planted berry bushes – smh!

You may lay massive sticks or branches in criss-cross vogue across the base of your vegetation to guard them, just like the way in which you’d use the rocks.

A garden bed with plants and branches covering the exposed soil
A garden bed with plants and branches covering the exposed soil

I just lately additionally began utilizing this methodology in my raised beds to guard uncovered soil the place I’ve freshly sown seeds.

The chickens LOVE the uncovered soil and can dig in it each probability they get. However, as soon as I cowl it with some branches, they depart it alone. This methodology permits the seeds to nonetheless get loads of mild to germinate.

As soon as they’re established, I take away the branches as wanted or depart them in place to fill within the open gaps between vegetation.

4. Flats/trays​

I can’t bear in mind the place I picked up this little trick, nevertheless it works extremely effectively! When you sow your seeds, you’ll be able to really flip a seed flat tray the other way up and use it to guard the freshly sown soil.

I’ve discovered that I generally must stake down the flats or place a big rock on them in order that the chickens don’t kick them up.

Black plastic garden flat trays laying upside down in a raised garden bed in front of some chard
Black plastic garden flat trays laying upside down in a raised garden bed in front of some chard

I’ve additionally observed that the flats works very well to offer simply sufficient shade to assist hold the soil moist which is significant for seed improvement.

That is particularly useful when you’re sowing seeds throughout scorching spells when the soil dries out quicker.

5. Wire​

My tried and true go-to resolution for shielding backyard vegetation from chickens at bay is wire fencing! However, as a substitute of utilizing it as fencing, I lay it on the soil to guard the germinating seeds and younger vegetation.

My favourite fencing to make use of for this function is 2”x4” welded wire. It’s sturdy sufficient to maintain the chickens at bay nevertheless it’s lightweight and simple to work with.

We normally have a roll of it available, so I simply reduce what I would like to suit the rising house. Nevertheless, I’ve used numerous totally different form of fence wire for this function – from woven wire to cattle panels and even small ornamental backyard fence – and so they all work simply nice!


There are two strategies that I usually use when laying out the fencing panels on the soil. For areas the place the chickens do plenty of intense scratching, I’ll sow my seeds/vegetation after which place the wire over them, flat towards the bottom.

The vegetation will then develop up between the wires and the wire stays in place to discourage scratching all through the rising season.

The second methodology works greatest for areas that aren’t as intensely scratched up by the chickens. I bend a big piece of wire in order that it creates a slight curve.

Then, I place it over the freshly sown soil or seedlings, guaranteeing that the wire is bent sufficient to given them some additional room for progress.

As soon as the vegetation have matured sufficient that they’re near touching the wire, I take away the wire to allow them to proceed rising.

Normally by this stage, the vegetation have crammed within the space sufficient to discourage the scratching chickens.

6. Fences​

Fences actually do make for one of the best neighbors… particularly for chickens!

Our entire backyard space is fenced with 4 foot 2”x4” welded wire fencing. This helps deter many of the chickens.

However, each every now and then, a couple of will discover their means over or beneath it regardless of my greatest efforts. That’s why I nonetheless cowl freshly seeded areas and younger vegetation with one of many strategies listed above.


At our Idaho property, it wasn’t an choice to fence our total backyard due to the property structure.

Nevertheless, we used backyard fence simply contained in the perimeter of every of the raised beds. This helped deter plenty of the chickens!

The backyard fencing is available in a wide range of heights, too! You may see extra in-depth element on how we used these fences in this submit.

I nonetheless use leftover items of that backyard fencing to guard a few of my extra weak or newly planted perennials.

Merely wrap a circle of it across the plant and drive the pokey stakes into to soil. I’ll generally use extra backyard stakes to assist make it additional safe. These little fences do an important job and have saved plenty of vegetation from in any other case sure demise on the claws of our marauding chickens!

What Are The Major Issues With Chickens…​

Now, don’t get me fallacious – chickens completely can profit a backyard in some ways! In truth, I can’t think about gardening with out them!

However, like something, we want to have the ability to harness their superb skills and apply it within the appropriate locations. Which is why we planted a “hen backyard” this summer time to provide them their very own house to graze and destroy!

Regardless of all my greatest efforts, our free vary chickens nonetheless get into my backyard every so often after I don’t need them there. Plus, my homestead is consistently beneath improvement. I’m all the time sowing or planting one thing, whether or not within the backyard or in our many perennial planting beds. Nothing is extra discouraging than seeing all that tough work and cash wasted due to a hen!

Woman holding seedling up to a black chicken
Woman holding seedling up to a black chicken

Whereas the chickens often trigger issues from pecking at my fruits and veggies, the true points come from the scratching!

Rooster might be ravenous hunters! They are going to scratch up any uncovered patch of soil searching for scrumptious bugs. Whereas this is usually a very helpful pest resolution, it may well additionally imply the demise of your vegetation – particularly seedlings and younger, unestablished vegetation or freshly sown seeds!


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  • Kaylee Vaughn
    Kaylee Vaughn

    Kaylee is the Founding father of Rootedrevival.com. She has arrange and run two homesteads, a one-acre in Idaho, and her present two-acre dream homestead within the Pacific North West. Her {qualifications} embody a Permaculture Design Certification from Oregon State College, and she or he is a Gardenary Licensed Backyard Coach. Kaylee at the moment produces at the very least 80% of her personal meals. She contributes to our web site by way of articles, coaching and training to our shoppers. You may learn extra about her at rootedrevival.com/kaylee-vaughn

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