Have your neighbor’s chickens claimed your yard as their own? Or, maybe your flock always wanders beyond their coop, and you want them to leave your yard?
Either way, you want those chickens gone – and I’m about to reveal the nine smartest methods to keep chickens out of your yard.
How to Keep Chickens Out of My Yard
- 1. Ask the Chickens to Leave (No, Seriously!)
- 2. Adopt a Labrador or Terrier Puppy
- 3. Eliminate the Chicken’s Source of Food
- 4. Introduce Fake Predators and Scarecrows
- 5. Install a Motion Sensor Sprinkler
- 6. Add Decoy Gardens or Seed Piles
- 7. Use Chicken Wire Fencing
- 8. Cover the Soil with Wire Cloth
- 9. Grow Thickly Settled Plants
1. Ask the Chickens to Leave (No, Seriously!)
Asking the chickens to leave your yard might seem like a silly response, but I’m only half-joking. That’s because this method always works. I’m talking about alarming the chickens and training them that they aren’t welcome to peck and forage freely in your yard.
If you’re dealing with an unruly roost that always escapes and wanders into your yard, you can steer and guide them away from your garden, porch, or restricted area and toward where you want them to go.
Start by calling your chickens out by name and tell them to go back to their coops. Wave and shout if you must. Tell those chickens to skedaddle!
Shooing the unwanted chickens by cheering and waving your arms should cause the chickens to think twice and leave your yard, even if you have oodles of fresh insects and worms in your yard ripe for the plucking.
2. Adopt a Labrador or Terrier Puppy
Dogs are one of the best methods to keep unwanted chickens in check and away from your yard. Permanently. Chickens are naturally terrified of terriers, hounds, and Labrador retrievers, so they’re your new best friends!
Because not only will a Labrador, terrier, or any dog love to join your family – but they’ll also keep your yard free of unwanted chickens, possums, squirrels, chipmunks, or rabbits, guaranteed!
If Labradors or terriers aren’t your favorite choice – then no problem. Just about any shelter dog or hound mix will strive diligently to rid your yard of chickens. With pleasure!
They’ll also work around the clock, even when you’re sleeping, cooking, or knuckle deep in the garden.
Why Dogs Rock (Especially to Keep Chickens Out of My Yard)
- Dogs can’t help but bark at chickens and other intruders! It’s in their doggy DNA.
- Dogs can be trained to keep chickens out of certain areas of your yard. My old cattle dog used to herd the chickens from one area in the yard to another, all day!
- Dogs are protective – especially when they see chickens running around in their yard.
- Chickens are naturally horrified by unfamiliar dogs.
- Chickens panic the moment they hear barking.
- Terriers, hounds, and retrievers love to chase chickens – and bark at unwanted guests.
- You’re also doing the pup a favor by providing it a loving home – sweet bonus!
If you’re worried about your pup squabbling with the chickens, then don’t worry too much. It’s much more likely that the unwanted chickens won’t want to get near your barking dogs and will avoid your yard at all costs.
Also, add a fence around your yard to help prevent your hounds (or other dogs) from chasing the chickens. That way, your dogs are safe, and you’ll have an anti-chicken defense system that will outperform any other!
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3. Eliminate the Chicken’s Source of Food
If chickens keep invading your yard, then you need to identify what’s attracting them. Are you feeding the chickens? Maybe inadvertently? Try cutting off the chicken’s food supply in that area, so they have no reason to return.
Two chicken magnets that are easy to overlook – especially in colder climates where natural food is scarce – are bird feeders and birdseed.
Do you love to indulge blue jays, cardinals, titmice, woodpeckers, finches, and robins with suet or birdseed? If so, then you may also attract unwanted guests. Like wild turkeys or your local neighborhood chickens!
Try to hang bird feeders and suet high in the trees so that chickens can’t easily snag them. Also, pay close attention to any seed overflow, so your invading chickens don’t enjoy a feeding frenzy right from under your nose.
You could also run outside and grab the bird feeder or suet when you see the chicken flock encroaching in your yard. Remove the chicken’s food, and they’ll get the message that there’s no free lunch. Not in your yard, at least.
4. Introduce Fake Predators and Scarecrows
If getting a Labrador retriever or family dog isn’t an option for you, then you can use a fake decoy predator to discourage unwanted chickens, birds, and pests from entering your yard.
The problem is that chickens are smart. And hungry! Decoys aren’t perfect. Nearly any chicken can catch on pretty quickly that a scarecrow or an owl decoy is no real threat. That’s why the question “how to keep chickens out of my yard” is no easy one and you need to keep those chickens guessing!
If you can obtain a variety of realistic-looking decoy predators, like hawks, owls, and coyotes, you might stand a chance at successfully deterring even the most determined brood!Amazon product
You can also move your decoys around your yard so that your chickens don’t get used to them.
If you combine the introduction of fake predators with the occasional shooing, you’re all but guaranteed to train the chickens that there’s no safe quarter in your yard!
5. Install a Motion Sensor Sprinkler
If the chickens invading your yard are especially tough, boisterous, and rowdy, then you might need to send a stronger signal.
Gently spraying the chickens with a hose works wonders. You don’t need to spray them with much pressure as you don’t want to inflict damage or hurt them.
However, the commotion that a garden hose causes will train the chickens to vacate the area. Quickly!
The only problem with manually spraying the chickens with a hose is that you’re not always there to protect your garden, plants, and yard.
That’s the genius of an automated sprinkler system. I found this perfect motion sensor water blaster that will cause the unwanted chickens in your yard to scurry away in seconds. Automatically.
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6. Add Decoy Gardens or Seed Piles
Many backyard enthusiasts say that you can throw a few spicy peppers or cloves of garlic in your yard, and the dilemma of how to keep chickens out of my yard is solved.
But some aggressive and feisty chickens will instantly clutch that pepper or garlic clove and peck it down for their afternoon snack!
That’s because chickens are always looking for good food. I can’t blame them! So, why not give the chickens what they want?
The trick is to provide an extra garden or pile of chicken seed so your chickens can eat away from your yard, in peace. Place the decoy garden or seed piles away from the area you want to protect.
Where to Place Your Decoy Garden
- A vacant corner of your yard
- Next to your chicken coop
- In the chicken’s designated foraging area
- Anywhere you want to persuade your chickens to congregate and settle
Encourage the chickens to frolic, peck, and eat near their decoy garden or seed pile freely and at the same time discourage them from entering the forbidden areas of your yard.
I have several decoy gardens as a solution for how to keep chickens out of my yard.
I’m keeping them out of the family food gardens with the next solution, chicken wire fencing, and they are allowed to freely scratch and feed in several other gardens I’ve created specifically for them.
Eventually, these gardens will be the food forest, so the plants that are currently in there are tough, resilient, mostly perennial and self-seeding plants.
Even if the chickens eat them, they often eat only the fruits – and their pooping around spreads the seeds, resulting in free plants for me. And they’re already fertilized! Chickens are a part of your natural forest food web.
There are a few areas they can’t go in yet. In those areas, I’ve created chickens tunnels that have a chicken wire floor as well (photo below).
My chickens love adventuring through the tunnels so they get lots of exercise but my plants are safe. And because the tunnels have a floor, they don’t scratch the ground away to nothing.
If you’re interested in building a food forest, don’t miss my free apple tree guild companion planting guide!
7. Use Chicken Wire Fencing
If your troublesome chickens are ravaging and feasting upon your garden mercilessly, then a chicken wire fence might be one of the best bets to keep chickens out – especially if you’re dealing with a plump flock who can’t help but snack nonstop.
Try to make your fence perimeter at least 5-6 feet high. That way, it’s challenging for your chickens to clear the barricade. Here’s a reliable and trustworthy poultry fence mesh from Tractor Supply that works wonders.
Want to protect your garden with less effort and material? You can also add small sections of chicken wire fence around select plants you wish to protect.
Another bonus to setting up a chicken wire fence is that you can decorate it with funny chicken coop signs!
This guide covers everything you need to know to build great housing for your animals, with dozens of plans for coops, hutches, shade structures, barns, and much more.
Your animals will be proud to call these home!
8. Cover the Soil with Wire Cloth
Wire cloth is your secret weapon in your fight against unwanted chickens. Chickens love access to open dirt. Your chickens peck in the soil so they can find delicious and nutritious bugs to devour by the truckload!
Chickens also love dust baths. Dust bathing helps chickens (and other birds) maintain the perfect amount of oil on their feathers. Dust bathing also helps to remove pests.
For those two reasons, if you can restrict easy access to your soil, you may have cracked the code to ridding your yard of chickens once and for all. Without doing anything mean – like spraying outcast chickens with the hose…
A reliable wire cloth also doubles as the perfect chicken wire fence material. If you want to enclose your chicken run, build a larger chicken coop, or seal off parts of your porch, then wire cloth is the ideal multipurpose chicken repellant.
Wire Cloths Help You Build or Secure:
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- Chicken coops
- Chicken runs
- Chicken fencing
- Grazing frames
- Tree guards
- Plant guards
- Raised beds
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9. Grow Thickly Settled Plants
One final Hail Mary pass to keep chickens out of my yard is to grow weeds, plants, and shrubs as thickly as possible.
You already know that chickens love open areas and flat patches of soil, so they can snack on earthworms, ants, beetles, grubs, ticks, and all other creepy crawlies that live in your soil.
But maybe you don’t like the idea of using wire cloth or sprinkling spicy peppers and garlic all over your backyard?
That’s one reason it might be a genius idea to settle your yard thickly and naturally.
That way, the chickens don’t have much room to stretch their wings, peck, or forage in the soil, and it’s much harder for them to snack on bugs crawling in the dirt if there’s not much room for them to hunt.
I have a hedge of Kei apple. You’ve probably never seen spikes like they grow before! They’re 3-4″ long, razor sharp, and ridiculously tough.
The plants are still small but they will eventually keep even cattle out (and they’re notorious for walking straight through our barbed wire like it’s made of cotton wool!).
They use Kei apples in Africa as natural fencing for cattle, so we can do the same thing. As a bonus, these spiky plants are a great habitat for small birds because it offers them protection.
How to Keep Chickens Out of My Yard, for Good!
Do you agree with our chicken removal methods? Or, is there a secret way of how to keep chickens out of my yard that I’ve missed? Please let us know in the comments below! 🙂
Sunday 18th of December 2022
I think that most of the ideas on your list are logical and well thought out. My problem is this: there are at least 6 roosters and 6 hens living in the backyard next to mine. They caught on to the fact that I feed the wild birds with seed and sometimes bread crumbs. We have a dog, but these chickens alive with 2 giant dogs so they’re not scared of dogs at all. We moved the birdseed but the problem there is the wild birds kick the seed down to the ground, scarecrows and decoys scare away my wild birds so that’s out. Putting chicken wire down is out because of the dog, his feet get caught in the wire on the ground plus we have a couple of gardens and trees. So I don’t know what to do, this whole brood can be found in the street, in the parking lot of the business next door on the other side, and Heaven only knows where else. The owners of these birds don’t seem to care one bit where these chickens go and talking to them about it would only anger them. So I have no idea what to do. I don’t want to hurt them, it’s not their fault- they’re chickens! So, do you have ANY OTHER ideas? I am desperate! (It’s not only the trespassing - it’s also the crowing all night long!!)
Wednesday 28th of December 2022
Hi Christina! I'm so sorry to hear about your neighboring chicken issues! I truly feel for you - this is a tricky problem to solve! Would water sprinklers with motion sensors work in your yard? My chickens escape into the vegetable garden sometimes and they hate getting wet. I squirt them with the hose and it gets them moving quickly! However, it sounds like the whole neighborhood is having issues with these chickens. It may be time to get together with some of your neighbors and approach the chicken owner? At the end of things, it truly is their responsibility to look after them. And it's a lot easier for them to keep them in their yard than for you to keep them out of yours... And six roosters, crowing all night - yikes! Some of our others readers may have suggestions too - I have my fingers crossed for you!
Monday 5th of September 2022
I have the same problem as Carol, who commented last year - except that there is a fence between our two yards - doesn’t matter. The chickens have found ways around it - they can jump on their coop and fly over it. We are going to try a motion-sensor Halloween skeleton that screams and waves it’s arms when something moves near it. Wish us luck!!
Tuesday 6th of September 2022
I'm wishing you luck! I actually tried something similar (although it's a spinning type thing on a stick) to stop my chickens coming out of their free range area (and into my veggie patch - ugh!). It's not working. We have come to the conclusion that once they fly out and 'known' the new area, the only thing that will stop them is a roof. Which is impossible for our chicken run, it's just too big! My rooster has decided that the veggie patch is his chill-out man cave area and he actively invites a few girls to join him. If you're in his favor, you can come. It's hilarious... if they didn't do so much damage in the veggie patch, that is. Next thing I'm trying is electric fence. I didn't want to go that way because yes, it'll probably stop them, but it makes it so much harder for us to go into the chicken run too. I think my kids are more scared of electric fence than the chickens are :D I definitely wish you luck - keep us updated! Elle
Sunday 2nd of May 2021
Most of these "solutions" will not work for me. My neighbor got chickens and I can't keep them out of my yard. I can't have a dog and I simply refuse to build ugly fences or put up ugly decoys around my yard. There is a rule in our subdivision that no farm animals are allowed but I try to keep peace with the neighbors. We all own homes, none of us plan to move therefore, we must "live together" and try to get along but these chickens are driving me insane! I don't want to install motions sensors water sprinklers! I have kindly commented to my neighbor that if they would stay in the back yard I could deal with it but I don't want them scratching up my flower beds in the front and pooping on my sidewalk! She laughed and said she would come over and clean it up, she hasn't! I might try some hot peppers but I can't keep that up forever. I am extremely frustrated! Any other tips would be greatly appreciated.
Monday 18th of April 2022
I'm the same as Carol. I've done everything I can think of being nice. Even asked the neighbor women if she could possibly keep them over there. She got really mad at me and the children started yelling bad things when I would be outside. But nothing stops the chickens. They poop all over my driveway and sidewalk and since I've run the back across the road 5 times in a 20 minute span this morning I am feeling violent like shooting them. Like Carol I live in a subdivision where you are not suppose to have farm animals. I would never ever do that to my neighbors. She has to see me run them out of my yard 100 times a day.
Wednesday 23rd of March 2022
I have the same problem- spoke to the owners several times and am sick of spending money on ugly wire fence that they fly over anyway. Call your local animal control officer, I am glad I finally did and they found out "free range" means keep them in their yard ONLY!
Tuesday 4th of May 2021
Hey there Carol, I feel your pain! We used to have this issue with the neighbor's dog - not the same, I know, but I know how incredibly frustrating this situation is! Especially because you're trying to stay on good terms with the neighbors - that's the hardest part of it all.
Is there any fence between you and your neighbor's property? Without fences, it will be almost impossible to keep them out...
Personally, I feel that it's their responsibility to keep the chickens in their yard, and I'm really sad to hear that your neighbor isn't taking it seriously. Even if she did come to clean up your yard, you'd still lose your flowers :(
Many birds don't mind hot peppers, I'm sorry to say. It's actually one of the solutions we use for squirrels that steal the bird food - they hate hot peppers but the birds don't mind...
Without putting up a fence (or convincing your neighbor to - it's really her responsibility!) or installing decoys or sprinklers, there are limited options. Especially not permanent ones.
Most of the things I can think of are things you have to keep doing, which is why your best option may be to talk to your neighbor again and try to convince her how frustrated you are.
1. Can you spray them with a garden hose when they are there? Chickens HATE getting wet. 2. An electric fence (this only needs to be very small, and possibly only temporary - animals learn quickly!) is not as ugly as a metal fence and is incredibly effective. They also don't cost too much and can be used as a temporary solution. 3. Maybe you can throw food into the neighbor's yard every morning - if they have food in their own yard they are unlikely to move to yours. 4. Decoy snakes are very small and unobtrusive so they're not too ugly in the yard - if you move them every now and then, they are very effective. 5. A row of spikey or "unfriendly" plants can be as effective as a fence and look nicer - I use Kei Apples as a hedge to keep cattle in, for example. Yucca and agave also work very well, as do many other things.
I know they're not a perfect solution and many of them require effort and money from you, which is, of course, not fair. I hope you can work something out with your neighbor because, without her help, it all comes down to you :(
Good luck Carol, I'll keep trying to thing of a solution and if something comes to mind, I'll list it here. Let us know how you go!