Rearing your chicken comes with several advantages, including saving on costs of purchasing. You are also assured of the best quality chicken, especially if you do free-range. However, despite the positive gains rearing chicken come with, they can be disastrous to your kitchen garden.
It is almost a guarantee that you will not have a garden once you let your chicken lose, even if it is for a day. Fortunately, you can always control the chicken and enjoy having both a garden with your vegetables and chicken that lay eggs and meat.
So how do you do this? Below are some of the best tips to help keep your chicken away from the garden.
1. Plant Herbs that Repel Chicken
Know which herbs work best with chicken. Choose herbs that they find repelling as this will discourage them from destroying your garden as they forage. Some of the herbs with repelling odor include
At first, the chicken will try to peck and eat, but will soon react to the herbs’ taste. The trick is to plant your herbs in a way that they will be densely populated. The flavor will make the chicken run the other way and never come back.
If planting herbs does not work, consider using essential oils that are repulsive. Sprinkle a little of the good quality essential oils around your garden. Make sure that you are not using oils that will harm your plants. Use essential oils that have a strong smell or aroma. Research and find out which oils to use without affecting the plants and vegetables.
2. Plant Citrus Plants
It may not be clear why citrus plants and fruits repel chicken, but they can help when it comes to keeping them away from your garden. It is also believed that large doses of citrus can kill the animals. Try having an orange or lemon tree in your garden to repel the chicken. In most cases, they will stay away from the garden because they do not care about it.
Alternatively, spread orange peels around the garden, or use orange essential oils to repel the birds. You can be sure that they will not go anywhere near your garden plants.
Citrus plants are great with chicken. Whenever you eat citrus fruits, remember to throw the peel in your garden. Apart from repelling the birds and discouraging them from eating your vegetables, these peels will eventually rot and form manure that will be great for your plants in the long run.
3. Fence the Garden In
If you are not comfortable using essential oils or having peels all over your home, you may only have to use a fence. This is one of the fool-proof techniques to use whenever your chicken keep running to your garden.
Put a fence around your favorite plants and leave the rest for the chicken forage. This may be a great option for those who are not avid farmers. Fencing will also protect your plants from other invaders like rabbits, squirrels, and even raccoons. In the end, fencing is a win in this circumstance.
4. Cover Up the Soil
The barest ground will attract the chicken and make them scratch as they search for bugs, dirt, and plants. You should make sure that you cover up all exposed surfaces using mulch or planting cover crops.
Dirt births are crucial for the healthy growth of chicken. Make sure you do not encourage them to enjoy their bath in your garden. Other cover methods can also be used, including spreading stones, netting/mesh, or landscaping fabric.
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5. Create a Chicken Garden
If you are worried about taking care of your chicken’s needs, then consider creating a garden that will be specially meant for them. It will work best if you have a large space. Make sure the garden includes some of the favorite plants the chicken enjoy foraging on. Plant the crops you noticed your chicken foraging on, and include a few beneficial herbs that can boost their growth.
You should also have strategic sand baths that will accommodate all the chicken you have. Include a fount of water, which will be an attractive measure that will make the chicken stay away from your garden.
The refreshing water can be a good reason to keep your birds away from the major vegetable garden and have them stick to the special one meant for them. This is the best area to have food and water too.
6. Minimize the Weeding
While weeding is great for the yield that you get eventually, be careful not to overdo it. When you do too much weeding, you will expose the soil, encouraging the chicken to bathe.
Try not to tempt the birds by covering as much space as you can. Weeds can also discourage the birds from running around the garden because they will struggle to scratch.
Just be careful not to let the weeds overgrow because they may end up choking your plants, which will be pointless. In fact, it is advisable to cut the weeds down and never allow them to grow to the same height as the crops.
7. Supervision is Key
Sometimes, you may let the chicken out for them to forage and bathe. When you cannot take any of the above measures, make sure you are close by to monitor how far the birds go.
If you are keen, the chicken will enjoy themselves without going towards the garden or destroying your precious vegetables. This will need some practice, but with time the birds will learn how to co-exist with your crops. They will concentrate on the bugs, weeds, and soil as opposed to targeting your vegetables.
8. Use Chicken Wire on Specific Plants
If you do not want to fence off the entire garden, then consider fencing specific plants to shield them from the bird. Use chicken wire to cover the plants you want to be shielded.
This will work for specific plants like fruit trees, especially when they are still young. This way, your birds still get the chance to bathe in the soil without interfering with the root system.
These can work for taller plants whose root systems must be protected from the constant scratching done by chicken. Measure the space that each plant needs to thrive before putting up enough wire per plant.
9. Strategic Planting
This is a strategy that may work if you have spaces where your birds cannot reach because they do not like to venture into such crevices. Find out if you can plant your crops in such spaces and make it work for you.
These are places where these birds will not scratch and get the seeds out. However, choose crops or plants that can thrive even when panted in crevices.
10. Use Temporary Cages
In case you do not want to rear free-range chicken, then cages will work. You can temporarily cage the birds and only release them whenever you must. Even in cases you are doing free-range rearing, put up temporary cages in areas where crops are planted.
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This will restrict the birds from getting too close to the plants, supporting an environment where both birds and plants co-exist. Chicken can be destructive if they are not well contained. If you are not willing to stand around and monitor their movement, then take all the necessary action to hold them off.
Managing both birds and plants can be easy. However, you need to be careful about which method to use when shielding your crops from the birds. Different methods work for different people. One situation may not be a perfect fit for all people. Opt for the different solutions and pick that which works best for your case.