Chickens in my potted plants : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Our chickens are free range. We haven't had any problems with that. They go into their coop at night. But they have taken to going throught the dirt in my potted plants on my front porch. What a mess, not to mention that the plants are starting to die. Any suggestions on how to deter them from doing this would be greatly appreciated. TIA

Karen the human, Ube & Susie llamas, 5 cats 7 goats, 8 chickens, 3 ducks, 1 gosling and a goose named "Bonnie" Yep, I organize folks for a living in

-- Karen in SC (, December 10, 2000


Karen if you use potting soil in your pots the chickens are probably after the little oddly colored pieces of stuff that is present in such mixes. First if possible set your pots up on something where they aren't right at your chickens eye level. Put something heavy that they can't scratch through on top of the soil in the pots....maybe blocks of wood or rocks. You will have to do this till their attention wanders elsewhere. Chickens don't have much of a memory and if you can discourage them for a while they will forget about it.

-- Amanda in Mo (, December 10, 2000.

Karen, I've had the same problem. I like my free-range chickens so just put up with it. But boy, does the wife ever get mad when they leave "gifts" on the sidewalk and front porch!

-- Michael W. Smith in North-West Pennsylvania (KIRKLBB@PENN.COM), December 10, 2000.

Karen, chickens LOVE to scratch in dirt, it's their natural instinct to "search" for insects, their most favorite treat! I gave up trying to keep them free range, as they were destroying all my flower beds, and settled for keeping them in a generously extra large coop with good ventilation and plenty of light. I pick fresh "greens", or this time of year, provide plenty of first quality second or third cutting hay for them to pick through to replace some of what they would "search" out for themselves outside.

I could never find a way to repel or discourage them from scratching in that irresistable dirt! Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (, December 10, 2000.

Get a dog.Train it to chase chickens out of yard.Simple yet effective.

I was just talking about this with Nick,when I told him about how we had our dogs trained to do this,growing up. Mom didn't like chicken poop in the yard either. It was not hard to train them to chase only so far as the edge of the yard.They were collie/shepard mutts. That's what we always had .Good dogs,better memories.

Are they "dusting" in the potting soil? Sounds like it. Give them a fine sand box or something with powdery open dirt so they can dust there,instead,if that's the problem. If it's just curiosity,barriers of blocks,wire,whatever,should do it as already recommended.

-- sharon wt (, December 10, 2000.

I cut chicken wire (the hexagon shaped kind) to fit around the plant on top of the soil. This keeps my cats off my plants - it works because the cats can't stand the little bits of wire that stick up. It may work for chickens.

-- Linda Al-Sangar (, December 11, 2000.

you can also stick in little twigs which should help - keeps the cats off as well.

-- kelly (, December 14, 2000.

Sharon, go to and see if your "collie-shepherd mutts" were anything like the American Working Farmcollies!?!

-- Kathleen Sanderson (, December 14, 2000.

Kathleen-I checked that site and it was an enjoyable trip.thanks.The dogs looked similar and had similar characteristics to the ones I grew up with. Ours always were mutts though. Alot of people either had "lassies" or german shepards, so there were always a cross of these two around, and Mom preferred the crosses.We had four that I can remember, growing up.The first I remember had more shepard than collie.He was a pretty good dog.

The one that was best of the bunch had looks and tendencies about half from both sides.Hubbie grew up with a big bear of a dog that was a collie shepard cross also. It was the best dog ever and also did the kinds of things mentioned in the website.Always a fond spot in my heart for those collie/shepard mutts.Go to a pound and find yourself one,folks.

-- sharon wt (, December 14, 2000.

Pet Proof Planter that works for cats. Perhaps it would work for the chickens:

Here's what it looks like:


1. Measure pot width at top of planter.

2. Cut out a square piece of 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch hardware cloth the width of planter.

3. Cut a hole in center large enough to fit around the plants stem.

4. Cut from outside edge to center to slide plants stem through.

5. Now open the last cut a bit to slide the stem through it. The mesh square should now sit over the planter.

6. Now snip around the inside edge of the planter until it fits neatly inside the pot. You may need to tie up the slit in the side of the hardware cloth so that it fits a bit tighter. Wire weaved through the slit works best.

-- ~Rogo (, December 16, 2000.

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