When fall comes around it’s a great time to do some of those little projects that get put off during the spring and summer. Now that you’ve harvested all or most of your crops for the season, you have the time to turn your attention to things which can be done in advance of next year. A little work now means less for you in the spring!
Having chickens can be a big blessing when it comes to your garden. I’m not only talking about all the free manure but also how chickens will take care of that summer bug problem for you without needing to spray them with anything, organic or otherwise. Then the chickens leave little presents for the plants. Something for everyone.
However, we’re not all able to let our flocks run willy-nilly as we would like. In urban and suburban areas where yards may be a decent size but we still have to worry about neighbors, a chicken run is a better solution than letting them run around as nature originally intended.
An easy project to do for the fall months is to build an enclosure around your garden beds to ensure that chickens don’t run into neighboring yards or otherwise out of bounds. I can tell you from experience that chasing a chicken through your neighbor’s back yard is both funny and embarrassing. Especially in these days of Facebook and Youtube.
There’s another tip for you, don’t forget to clip their wings!
Anyway, you can purchase garden fencing from any local home improvement store fairly cheap. A lot of it is recycled, which helps, and plastic fencing is usually sold in rolls so it’s a matter of putting posts at the corners and a couple in the middle for support. Then wrap the fencing around and staple it in place.
I do suggest making actual gates, one on each end if you’re making it a rectangular enclosure. So two solid posts with swing gates or even child latch lattice ones. The latter worked quite successfully for us for a couple of years until the weather finally got to it. As cheap as they are, it worked for us to just replace it. You can also get a small metal gate door instead if you want to spend the money.
We had one gate coming down the path from the house, and the other gate connecting our garden to the end of the chicken run. After spring planting had passed and the bugs came out in force, we let loose the girls to have all the squash bugs, slugs, and whatever else they wanted to eat. The plants were grown, so they wouldn’t scratch up the seeds (that’s what chipmunks are for) and they really weren’t interested in more than an occasional peck at a broccoli leaf or a bit of spinach. Why would they when there were such fine specimens all over the plants?
Previous to this, we had dusted our squash plants with wood ashes, set out little beer traps for slugs, oil traps for earwigs… Wasn’t really necessary any more after the chickens were connected. Weeding, watering, and harvesting are hard enough without pest control, so build an enclosure and let your flock run free next year. This idea works really well with our mobile coop plans and the Chicken Fun Run, however the enclosure you build can be modified to adjust to any coop you want. You can even build it to connect to a greenhouse!
If you build a garden enclosure, drop us a line. We also love pictures!