Help, tips & advice by chicken keepers
Question: While my chickens were shut in because of the bird flu restrictions, I started creating a vegetable patch. The soil is levelled and ready for planting – but now the chickens are free-ranging again they are really pleased with my hard work! They love digging and dust-bathing in the fresh soil, and it’s impossible to plant anything. Is there an easy (and inexpensive) way of keeping them off this area? I don’t want to confine them again or clip their wings.
Anne Perdeaux says: It’s lovely to see the chickens out and about again, isn’t it? They always seem to be where you don’t want them! My raised vegetable bed has chicken wire around it, making a barrier of about 60cm. This is easy for me to step across, but the chickens don’t try to fly over, although they are very able fliers. They prefer to hop up and then over obstacles, so a solid wall or fence is actually easier for them. Another option on larger areas is the plastic barrier fencing used by workmen. Before you shudder, it comes in other colours apart from orange – ours is green. It’s durable but not very expensive, and is available from builders’ merchants or online. Make sure your chickens have an alternative area to dust-bathe too. It’s good for their health and will help distract them from your veggies!