Thursday, July 13, 2006

Good fences make . . .

The hens trashed Ed's flowerbeds, digging up expensive plants and laying waste to everything. He was Not Pleased At All. So today I put up fencing to keep them off the beds.

The fences are only very low and I'm not sure if they're up to the job. The chickens could jump over them if they had a short run up, they wouldn't even need to fly. But I didn't want to go straight to def con 3 and erect six-foot high chain link with floodlights and lookout towers, if a nine-inch high decorative plastic edging would do the job just as well.

So far it seems to be working. They're pretty stupid beasts and when they hit an obstacle they just change direction and go somewhere else. They don't seem to spend hours figuring out how to penetrate our defences the way, say, a dog would. The cost of the fencing sets back the date when the chickens start paying for themselves, or to look at it another way we learned a priceless lesson about the importance of fencing in livestock.

10 comments:

blackberry44 said...

That's a shame. Chickens do like little tender shoots, though. Just like wabbits.

Let's hope the 9" fence keeps them out of the flower beds. It would be a shame if you had to fence them in, although you might have to come to that. When you do that, though, the lawn rapidly becomes mud.

Chickpea said...

It wasn't the tender shoots, it was big established plants. And I don't think the chickens were after the plants, they just wanted to scratch the ground below and they scratched the plants out of existence in the meantime. We'll keep them watered and fed now they're fenced off and just hope most of them can come back.

The whole garden is only 12 yards square. If we fenced the hens in a decent area it would leave very little for us to use.

Nerd in the Country said...

The only reason the chickens were deterred by that little fence is because they weren't particularly motivated to get in there. They will eventually wander over there, but they will be there right now if they see anything red.

I recommend four foot chicken wire. If they don't have a good perch on top, they probably won't go over.

But anyhow, don't believe what you hear about their little bird brains. Sometimes, they will surprise you.

Chickpea said...

Hi nerd. 4 foot chicken wire around a flowerbed kind of defeats the purpose of having decorative flowerbeds. Of course, maybe it's not possible to have flowerbeds and chickens in close proximity. I can think of 5 solutions:
1) Get rid of the flowerbeds
2) Get rid of the chickens
3) Pen in the flowerbeds with 4 foot chickenwire (ugly)
4) Pen in the chickens (at the cost of half the garden)
5) Put only chicken-proof plants in the flowerbeds, e.g. tough shrubs such as roses, so could be quite a decorative solution.
Can you think of anymore?

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