Owning chickens takes some careful planning and consideration otherwise they can own you! Equally, if you have a neighbor who lets their chickens free to roam, and they often enter your yard as a consequence of that, you’re going to want to take back control. You need to be able to restrict their access. Either way, naturally the question arises; how do you keep chickens out of your yard?
So with some careful planning and research, I’ve discovered the best 10 ways to keep chickens out of a yard or any specific area of it!
The 11 Ways To Keep Chickens Out of Your Yard
- Discover The Causes
- Move The Chicken Coop
- Feed Only In the Coop/ Remove Food Sources
- Make Your Chickens Their Own Yard
- Provide Perches
- Train Your Chickens
- Use Motion Activated Sprinklers
- Add Fake Predators To Your Yard
- Use a Pet
- Deploy Fencing Around Your Yard
- Use Specific Spices and Plants
The above suggestions may sound obvious or even easy to do, but with some of them, there is more than meets the eye.
They will also equally help you whether you have your own chickens, or a neighbor lets their chickens free to roam and they do so regularly into your yard.
Each suggestion is not mutually exclusive, you can do them all, a combination of some, or all.
Ultimately, it’s going to be down to preference.
So, be sure to keep reading so you know which ones are best for you and how to effectively implement each method!
Discover The Cause of Chicken Entry
First and foremost, you need to discover why it is that chickens even want to be in your yard in the first place.
There is something that is drawing them to your property.
For a chicken, four factors primarily dictate their behavior. These being: food, survival, comfort, and reproduction. Chickens may have multiple reasons for wanting to access your yard.
For starters, there is something in your yard that is attracting them. This is especially true if your neighbor’s chickens routinely give your property a visit.
Chickens love to free roam and as such, there will often be a time in where their owner lets them have a wander.
It’s known to support their well-being and feeding off the natural land can be very healthy for them both physically and mentally.
Yards typically contain lots of opportunities for food; ants, worms, and other bugs and insects are routinely sought out by chickens and eaten at any given opportunity.
If your yard has plenty of grass, chickens may see this as an opportunity to scavenge.
Likewise, if you routinely put out bread for the birds or any other potential food source, chickens will smell it and actively pursue it if it is deemed safe.
In fact, chickens have a very good sense of smell.
Chickens are also very intelligent and know where food is and comes from.
They quickly learn that you are a source of food, so if you frequently feed them, they are going to learn to come near.
From a survival perspective, chickens may enter your yard either to escape what they believe to be dangerous in their current environment or to acquire some form of protection.
Yards are generally quite active with human activity throughout the day. For the chickens, this gives them the allusion of protection from other potential predators.
From a comfort angle, you may also have shaded areas or places within your yard that a chicken would want to enter.
If you look at your yard from a chicken’s perspective, then you may also start to get an understanding of why they are keen to enter it.
You may have a lot of equipment, items, furniture, etc. that would provide ideal perching options to a chicken.
Things like chairs, rails are prime examples.
Now that you know the reasons why your yard is so appealing, you can start taking measures to overcome the problem.
Move The Coop
Chicken Coops are an ideal and recommended way to keep your chickens safe and contained. A coop will provide a deterrent, and physical barrier, to any potential predator. Be it a fox, or a cat.
Chickens love to free-range and will like to do so near where their coop is positioned.
This is because it is a safe and known environment. Of course, in time as they get more confident, the further afield they will go.
So, if you were to let your own chickens out for a free-roam you would likely see them in the vicinity around their coop.
That being said, chickens spread out far and wide in the quest to forage.
It has been documented that for each chicken an owner has, they need 10 square feet to roam.
So with a flock of 10 birds, which is not uncommon, you are looking at 100 feet. Quite a bit of space.
So practically speaking, if your chicken coop is located within or close to your yard that you want the chickens to steer away from, its a good idea to move it.
This is because you’ll always be fighting a losing battle when the time does come for a roam.
It is recommended that you place your chicken coop at least 15 square feet away from the house if you do have the space available.
If you find yourself in the position that wild chickens or a neighbor’s chickens are frequently coming to your yard, consider where the coop is situated.
While not always possible nor fruitful, if you ask your neighbor politely they may be able to move their coop further away from your yard.
Keep Feeding Away
While it is always nice to spend time with chickens, you need to be especially careful of when and where you do.
Chickens are social, and will always attempt to be close to humans when and where possible.
You need to prevent feeding your chickens within your yard.
Whether they are your chickens or neighbors, the inclination to do so may still be there.
You should only feed chickens within their coop or an area where you are happy for them to roam and forage.
In fact, you can even use food to get chickens away from a specific area or drive them to a new area.
So if you didn’t want chickens in your front yard, you could leave food in your backyard leveraging this technique.
However, if you do use the food you need to strategically place it without them seeing you!
Ultimately, you want the chickens to learn of specific areas for food and not seek you out for it.
You do not want chickens to come to your looking for food and for scraps. Otherwise, you are going to find them in your yard more often than not when they are free to roam.
Why search the landscape when they can come to you directly and be fed?
Again, a conversation with your neighbor may be required if they are feeding their chickens close to your yard.
Make Your Chickens Their Own Yard
Have you ever considered making your chickens a yard that is more exciting and appealing?
A separate space that has more allure?
This way you can effectively have your own respective yards.
Some of the things you will want to consider adding to a ‘chicken yard’ are some of their favorite plants and areas for them to have dust baths.
Of course, you want this area to be secluded from your yard and clearly distinguishable.
Chickens actively seek out the highest position they can.
This will help them to observe the landscape and evade any potential predators. This is why they sleep in this position.
Chickens could be inclined to visit your yard because you have a lot of potential perches.
Whether that be trees, plants, furniture (like benches, etc).
Instead of having to get rid of them, or move them, it’s a good idea to offer perches within and closer to their coop.
If you find that adding a perch directly into or near the coop does not work. You can try moving the perch closer or within your yard.
Once the chickens get used to using it, then slowly move it back and away from your yard.
In the end, the chickens will be trained to perch on a dedicated and designated perch as opposed to any other place they see fit.
Train The Chickens
Did you know chickens can be trained? While there are many techniques to use, you are going to want to leverage both positive and negative reinforcement.
Some of the recommendations already discussed fall within the positive camp.
Yet, sometimes this is not enough and you will need to include what is known as negative reinforcement techniques. The main ones are:
- Shouting/Scaring Chickens Away
- Using Props (Fake Predators)
Like any pet training, it will require commitment and you’ll need to remain consistent over time.
If you do not keep up with the training techniques, the chickens will never truly learn.
This means that you need to remain vigilant, available, and willing to step infrequently.
When it comes to training, one of the first things you need to do is set a boundary or perimeter.
There needs to be a ‘cut off’ whereby the chickens should be prevented from entering.
This will give you a visual marker and know when and where to intervene.
In the situation where a chicken was to cross the boundary, you could either shout “off my yard”, wave frantically or even spray them lightly with the hose.
By doing so consistently, chickens will soon learn where they can and cannot go.
You may even notice that the older chickens begin to warn the chicks of the potential ramifications.
When it comes to shouting at the chickens, be sure to use the same phrase every time.
Again, this will help them to learn the command and what it means.
In time, they will realize and recognize the boundary, opting for another area to roam.
Use Motion Activated Sprinklers
Motion Activated Sprinklers are a quick and cost-effective win to deter chickens (and other rodents) from your yard.
You can order them today and get them overnight from Amazon.
They will prevent the need from you having to manually train or routinely shout at chickens.
All you need to do is strategically place and put them in the ground (near the boundary you decide), and they will come on when they detect motion.
The benefit of sprinklers is that they will also water your yard/plants at the same time!
Just be sure not to walk through the motion detector or you may get wet!
Add Fake Predators To Your Yard
Chickens are frequently on the lookout for predators and are aware of the threat that they pose.
Adding fake predators to your property, and within your yard, is therefore a great deterrent to stop chickens from venturing there.
The problem is, if you placed a still fake predator (like an Owl) in your yard, they will only keep chickens away for so long.
They would soon learn that it is bogus.
So instead, you need to be a bit clever about using fake predators.
Buying one that not only looks real but moves regularly is a great solution.
It also makes sense to routinely move them and change where they are positioned in your yard. This will stop chickens from learning all about them and working it out.
But it’s not just chickens that these fake predators will deter. You’ll also notice a decline in the entry of other pests to your yard.
Just consider that different chickens will react differently to fake predators. Some chickens are naturally more afraid whereas others are braver and more likely to stick around.
Use A Pet
Using your pet, or getting a pet, could also be another option.
Cats work particularly well for this, along with certain breeds of dogs.
Of course, you do not want your pet to attack and kill the chickens, but their presence on your property can be enough.
Additionally, you could ever consider getting a Rooster. In doing so, you will likely be able to keep your hens closer to their coop.
Roosters are naturally protective can drive the flock closer to their coop.
Deploy Fencing Around Your Yard
Fences are perhaps the most effective at keeping chickens away.
They’re also very practical and you can literally set up a physical boundary exactly where you like.
Unfortunately, not all areas of your yard will likely be able to be fenced. Or, you do not want the restrictions or general look and appearance of it.
Nonetheless, here are the types of fencing you can get:
- Tall Fencing
- Chicken Wire
- Electric Fence
Each option will depend on your yard, budget, and what is going to work best for you.
Tall Fencing: If you decide to install wooden fencing, this should be around the edge of your yard. It also needs to be pretty high. 6 Ft is usually a good minimum and anything fewer chickens can actually get over. This is generally the most expensive option.
Fences are available in a variety of materials mostly wood or wire.
Chicken Wire: Chicken wire is one of the most cost-effective and great for restricting access to specific areas of your yard. It’s very popular among chicken owners.
It is effective to install wire around or over flower beds to protect them from your birds. It’s also pretty easy to erect and cost-effective.
Electric Wire: The most extreme of options but the one that will get chickens to learn quickly. The shock will prevent chickens from attempting to sit or climb on it and will often make them head in the opposite direction. You can line this around the perimeter of your yard.
Use Specific Spices and Plants
Chickens are not generally fussy eaters and will eat a lot of what is given to them. Equally, chickens do not like the smell of strong spices and herbs.
In this way, it’s a good idea to put some spices within your yard.
You could also grow them around the perimeter of your yard too.
That way, if a chicken was to smell, consume or even walk across them, they would find discomfort. This will soon teach them not to come again to the area.
Here are some of the best spices to use/grow:
- Citrus Peels
- Cayenne Pepper
When using spices, you’ll need to think about where you are placing them, the weather, and if you want to use just the spices or attempt to grow the plant they come from.
For the latter, you may even need to spend some time waiting for the plants of spices to grow/flower.
When it comes to perennial herbs like Lavender, it is only when they are fully grown that they will start to have a deterring impact.
Keeping chickens away from your yard will require some thought, planning, investment, and consistency.
But it will be worth it in the end when you are able to effectively manage where they do and do not go.
Ultimately, chickens are always seeking out food, comfort, and the chance to reproduce.
If you can limit these from occurring in your yard, then you’ll stand a far better chance.
Strong bitter and unfamiliar smells are known to deter chickens. Herbs and spices, such as garlic, chilis, citrus and curry powder are all effective deterrents.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.