A while back we were struggling with chickens in the garden. We strategically placed the chickens in the far back of our property, thinking that they wouldn’t venture far from home and they would stay out of our garden. We were wrong.
The chickens visited our garden regularly earlier this year and we knew that if we were actually going to harvest anything before the chickens had pecked at it, we were going to need to keep them out. We used some different fencing; some if it worked, some of it didn’t.
We identified the fencing that worked and we stretched it across our property and left it there. Then the chickens learned to go around the fence into the neighbor’s yard. Or they would just go eat the neighbor’s garden which also wasn’t a great solution. So we put up some chicken netting along the existing barbed wire fence so the chickens couldn’t get into the neighbor’s yard.
The chicken netting worked for a few days until the chickens figured out that they could go under it. At that point we had to go back and stake the fence to the ground every few feet.
Problem solved. The chickens were no longer able to get into the neighbor’s yard. But they had learned to go under fences, so they figured out how to get under the fence that goes into our garden. Finally, we staked that fence and our problem is solved.
Except for Houdini. Most of our chickens don’t have names because I can’t tell them apart, but Houdini is the only chicken that we have of that variety. Houdini can get through the fence. I think she just flies over it… or maybe she squeezes under it. I am not completely sure, but I suspect both.
The thing is, Houdini doesn’t go for the garden, she comes up into our back yard and just pecks around and annoys the dog. So she’s the smartest chicken; the only one that can figure out how to get over the fence. Once on the other side of the fence, she passes through an acre of food in order to get chased by a dog.
I’ve given up. Houdini doesn’t bother my vegetables, so I just let her wander my back yard. On the rare occasion that she is in the garden, I ask one of the kids to go get ‘that dang chicken’ out of the garden. I have officially admitted defeat. I have been outsmarted by a chicken.