Construct a Chicken Moat for Effective Garden Pest Control

Construct a chicken moat for effective garden pest control. Surround your garden with this double-fenced chicken run to keep bugs at bay.

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    Photo by Adobestock/Evgeniya
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    The hens patrol around the garden on the lookout for weeds, seeds, worms, tiny pieces of stones and (best of all) bugs.
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    Let chickens take over your garden pest control efforts with this innovative "chicken moat."
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    Garden pests are stopped by the chicken buffer on their way to destroy your fresh veggies.

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This protective enclosure for the garden uses chickens as an effective garden pest control along with a moat to protect your crops. 

Construct a Chicken Moat for Effective Garden Pest Control

A chicken moat is not a waterway, but it does provide a protective enclosure for the garden. Weeds, insects, rabbits, ground hogs and even deer are barred from entry by the double wall of fencing and the ever-diligent patrol flock. All in all, it’s a clever solution to the fowl raiser’s dilemma of whether to fence the birds or the garden: Fence both!

In days gone by, rulers of kingdoms would protect themselves by ordering a few thousand serfs to build a moat around the family castle. With the current shortage of serfs, the practice has fallen out of favor. However, when faced with that classic country conundrum, "Do I fence the garden or the chickens?" I decided to make a modern adaptation of that medieval practice. I fenced both fowl and crops—with a chicken moat.

My moat is simply a strip of dry land, enclosed by two parallel fences, which surrounds my family's garden. Throughout the day, the hen patrol moves all around the garden (but never in it), munching on all those things hens love: weeds, seeds, worms, tiny pieces of stones and (best of all) bugs.

The chicken moat provides a clean edge around the garden, keeping down the migration of unwanted grasses, weeds and insects into our plot. (Two years ago, when our neighbor's garden was nearly devastated by grasshoppers, our hens gorged themselves on the invading horde and saved our plot.) The double line of defense discourages most possums, ground hogs and rabbits from trying to harvest free vegetables. Deer can easily clear a single tall fence, but they can't find enough room in the six-foot-wide moat to gather themselves for a second leap. And we've quit losing hens to hawks since the moat was constructed—those raptors avoid the potential entrapment of two fences so close together.

If you wish to construct a moat yourself, I offer the following suggestions:

7/22/2020 1:27:41 PM

I don't see the distance between the parallel fences marked on the chart. How close should they be spaced?

7/21/2020 9:58:42 AM

The fruit trees appear to be fenced from the garden? Why?

tom pendleton
10/15/2017 8:53:45 PM

Tom Pendleton Actually, chickens can be in the garden but will need another gate..., except when young sprouts are coming up and when tomatoes, etc are ripe (which a small temp fence around the tomatoes helps). Chickens in the garden eat pests that may fly over moat and leave good fertilizer for free.



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