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Training Chickens NOT to eat my mom's Petunias/Daylilies/Roses/Everything else..

 
Adrien Quenneville
Posts: 61
Location: Alexandria, ON, Zone 4a
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Hi everyone, been lurking as a guest for some time now but I've gotta ask a few questions.

Our family moved on a farm years ago so my mom could have her massive garden and flower beds. She does an awesome job at it, but it conflicts with us keeping chickens and randomly setting them free from their coop. You see, they do an excellent job at running straight to the flower beds and wreaking havoc on her flowers, scratching the ground looking for bugs and seeds, and enjoying a quite flower bite at the same time.

The chickens she has are nearing the end of their life (never got a rooster, they're just layers), and soon she will need to purchase more. Any way of training the newbies (or current ones) when they come so that they cause either less than damage or stay away? This would be useful too as there is no point to buy laying ration at the feed store when they stop laying, so letting them roam is the next step in saving a bit of money.

Cheers!

AQ
 
                        
Posts: 40
Location: Berkeley,CA
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In my experience trying to "train" a chicken to NOT do something is nigh impossible.  You can get them used to eating certain things they would otherwise not eat or train them to get back in their coop at night, but keeping them out of somewhere they want to go it tough.  A number of years ago I had a Queensland heeler that was trained to herd chickens where I wanted them to go which made it a bit easier, but unfortunately that is the only insight I can offer.  Good luck
 
Adrien Quenneville
Posts: 61
Location: Alexandria, ON, Zone 4a
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I had figured as much, they're a very stubborn bird. Thanks Eric!
 
                            
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
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Ditto here.  The hens didn't seem to tear up something that was well established, but anything newly planted was dug up in short order.  We put wire cages and short fencing in a lot of places, but that gets old.  And vegetables?  Mine wouldn't eat the lettuce and swiss chard that I planted for them, but ate all the beet tops in a flash.  They got tired of the tomatoes I threw on the ground for them and aimed for the best tomatoes on the vine.

I could lure them quite a way from newly planted areas, but it didn't take long for them to find 'em. 
 
                    
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Fence them out of areas with stuff you don't want them to eat.  I think that's the only way to grow what you want to grow and have chickens. 

The fence must be adequate, in my experience, not "stout" but with small enough holes to keep even the young birds out.  Our "poultry netting" electric fencing we tried out this summer has NEVER held in our birds, which is pretty much why we gave up on controlled rotational foraging and they became free range. 

I gave up keeping them out of the garden months ago.  I have concave bowls where cabbage heads used to be, and thin sticks where kale leaves used to be.  I just shrug and enjoy the fantastic eggs.  But --  we are planning a chicken proof fence that will completely surround the yard/garden area of our land and next summer they will range freely on the rest of the property! 
 
                            
Posts: 158
Location: Abilene, KS
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Didn't someone on this forum (somewhere??) say that fencing 6' tall will keep most hens out?  My original hens never flew over 4' fencing until we were 'gifted' a few hens that were pretty good fliers.  They showed the other hens that they could make it over the 5' fence around my garden.  Keeps life interesting, huh! 

A few years ago when I got straw to mulch my veggies, it was tied with orange nylon baling string/twine/whatever you call it.  I started loosely tying it to the top of the fence, just to be able to grab it if I needed to tie some a tomato branch or whatever.  The string ends were blowing in the wind, and I didn't have any trouble w/ hens in the garden this past year.  I don't want my garden fencing to look like a hulu skirt over time, though.  Maybe tying some old CD's, shiny stuff to the ends would help keep the hens out?  Seems to work for some people.
 
                      
Posts: 76
Location: Austin,TX
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You'll need something better to occupy thier time with.

Build up some simple like wood chips piles (add some scraps too if handy) and keep it wet.
Let the birds at it after a bit of time and make more piles to rotate in.
Lots of goodies for the chicks to eat plus satisfies their incessant need to dig, dig then dig some more.

Add BSF grubs into the mix and they'll camp out there making some nice compost as a bonus.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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