Do you have one or several chickens that seem to prefer the neighbor’s yard rather than their own? Continuously going next door to gather your feathered kids and bring them home can be a pain. But, stop and think about your neighbor. Although they may not think much of it at the time, eventually, the welcome will wear out next door for your chickens.
So, are there ways on how to keep chickens from leaving your yard? Let’s take a look at some things you can do. The last thing we want is your neighbor harboring ill feelings towards you and your chooks!
Understanding Why Chickens Go Into Your Neighbor’s Yard
There are various reasons your chickens stray into other yards. But, first, let’s look at your fencing. Do you have tall fencing that contains the perimeter of your yard? If so, your chickens are most likely flapping hard enough to get up and over the fence. If you don’t have proper fencing, you can expect that they’ll breach neighboring yards.
Most chickens don’t understand boundaries, especially when they are allowed to free-range around your landscape (front, back, and sides.) The neighbor’s yard is no different than yours, and for them, they’ll go where the green grass continues to lead them. If you have backyard chickens, you must have fencing. Otherwise, your chickens are vulnerable to attack, getting into your neighbor’s yards, or wandering off.
Chickens are, by nature, curious creatures. If they see something sitting over in the neighboring yard such as plants, flowers, gardens, a source of food, or something that’s just plain ole eye-catching, guess where they’re going?
Ways To Prevent Your Chickens From Leaving Your Yard
Besides protecting your chickens with proper fencing and containment, we need to figure out how you can entice your flock to stay home and not invade other yards. Chickens, like any other pet, can grow bored. The same old food, same old environment, and same old routine for us or animals can cause us to stir and become antsy, wishing for something different to break the monotony. This is where you’ll need to get a bit creative.
Keeping your chickens on your own property within a secured area will prevent unhappy neighbors.
A fence is something that backyard chickens require. Fences protect them against predatorial attacks but also keeps them in your yard. Imagine having small children in the yard and going into your house. When you come back out, odds are they won’t be there because they wandered off. There was nothing in place to contain them. Your chickens are like children. They don’t know any better, so we have to take it upon ourselves to put up barriers to provide a boundary line for their own safety.
Next, ensuring your chickens have a good-quality coop gives them a place to retreat to at night and when they need to fulfill their nesting needs when laying eggs. A coop that you secure at night is a secondary means of containment and protection.
So, you have a fence and a coop, yet your chickens continue to get into the neighbor’s yard. There are a few things you can do to deter them from finding their way up and over fencing, as well as motivating them to stick around their home turf.
Have you ever noticed in zoos, prisons, and wildlife reserves where fencing has anti-climb deterrents in place at the top? It is a forward-facing wired device that prevents escape. Many backyard chicken owners use this strategy to keep chickens from getting over fences. If you do opt to use this type of device, carefully select a wire that won’t cause injury or harm to your chickens in the event they do decide to attempt flapping up into that area.
- Bird slides also provide deterrence without harming them. Install them at the top of your fence, and we’ll bet you they’ll have a heck of a time trying to get over them.
- Bird spiders can be installed on top of your fences to deter your chickens from getting over the fence.
- Coiled wires (bird coiling) provide the same effect the slide does by preventing chickens from scaling the fence.
You will hear many people recommend the use of several repellants to keep chickens contained. We don’t recommend using some repellers because of the danger and harm they impose on chickens.
- Audio repellers (not designed for use with chickens)
- Bird spikes (can cause harm or injury, not meant to use for chickens)
- Shock tracks (inhumane way to deter birds through shocking them)
- Predator decoys (inhumane way to deter birds through scaring them)
Create A Stimulating Environment
Keep your chickens “home” by creating a yard full of stimulating activities and attractants that keep them too busy to think about visiting your neighbor’s yard. There are many things you can do to accomplish this!
Creatively placing food and treats around the yard keeps them happy as they seek out and devour!
- Hanging heads of cabbage or lettuce
- Frozen ice rings (use a bundt cake pan) with seeds and treats
- Stringed veggies and fruits
- Whole sunflowers
- Veggie feeders mounted on the fence
Chickens LOVE gardens and plants. Not only do they snack on them, but the whole process of destroying them is a favorite pastime. Be extra careful to avoid planting harmful plants.
If it makes noise from your chickens pecking at it, it’s a winner! Bells, pianos, and other musical toys are perfect for chickens. Small balls, plastic Easter eggs, and a treat-dispensing toy will keep them busy!
Chickens like to explore and have fun just like kids. Mount a door mirror on your fence, side of a shed, or the coop and stand back and watch! It’s hilarious to see your chickens gazing and clucking at themselves. Chicken swings and perches also provide fun for them.
We write more on new and homemade chicken toys in this article.
Clip Their Wings
Another idea that we have found helpful is wing clipping. Don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt them! It’s essentially just clipping off the outer part of the wing, making them unable to fly.
It may sound cruel at first, but it’s a great way to keep your flock from flying over the fence into the neighbor’s yard, or to an area where predators may be lurking.
We write more about how to safely clip their wings in our article, Chicken Wings: To Clip or Not To Clip – A Guide To Clipping Chicken’s Wings
The Last “Cluck”
We hope we have given you some great ideas on how to avoid a chicken or two ending up in the yard on the other side of your fence. Neighbors can be friendly and understanding initially, but over time, it becomes more of a nuisance for them.
Again, if you get creative, you’ll find all kinds of unique ways to make the backyard a fun place to live and thrive. If you don’t have a fence, make it a priority to get one put up. Happy “chickening!”