If you live in an urban area, you might notice more backyard chickens roaming around! In the past decade, chicken hatchery owners have seen a noticeable increase in people looking to have a flock of their own. During the COVID pandemic in 2020, many hatcheries across the US were swamped with orders when many people decided they wanted a food source closer to home. Introducing backyard chickens into suburban backyards has provided many people with joy and eggs.
Chickens are great composters, relatively low maintenance, and can even show affection like dogs and cats. They love roosting in high places, like chair arms or tree branches. They’re also curious foragers that peck and scratch around any spaces they can access. Owning them can be wonderful, but like any pet, they can pose unique challenges- especially in urban areas.
While you may love having your chickens pecking at your patio door, you probably won’t love the loose feathers, dirt, and poop they leave behind (especially when they roost on your patio furniture!). In this blog post, we’ll look at seven ways you can keep your feathered friends off your patio for good!
Ways to Keep Chickens Off of Your Patio & Porch
Don’t be fooled by the movie Chicken Run! Chickens are incredibly smart in their own ways. One study suggests that chickens are self-aware, logical, emotional, and even have the capability to remember specific people. Because they are intelligent and curious, you’ll likely have difficulty keeping them away from your patio. Thankfully you have options to keep them in other parts of your yard.
1. Use a Motion Sensor Sprinkler
One of the best ways to keep chickens off of your patio & porch is to use a motion sensor sprinkler. This sprinkler can frighten your chickens away with gentle bursts of water. It has multiple strengths from 1-4, so you can choose a gentle setting to ensure your chickens won’t be harmed. It also operates as a dual-system tool with an option to water your lawn. Using AA batteries, the Critter Ridder’s infrared technology can detect animals from up to 100 feet away.
- Very effective tactic
- Harmless to chickens
- Prevents other animals from entering your patio
- No patio alterations required
- Relatively cheap
- Will also spray you or your dog if in the target area!
- May increase your water bill
- Requires a setup with a hose and faucet
- You may need to purchase multiple to surround the perimeter of your patio
- Can’t be used in the winter in freezing temperatures
2. Use a Mechanical Decoy/Scarecrow
Chickens are prey animals, making them flighty and easily startled. Using a mechanical decoy with a revolving head of an owl or hawk can help deter your chickens from entering a certain area. While this may work for a while, chickens are smart and might be de-sensitized after a while. If you decide to give this method a try, make sure to put it above your patio cover or on the edge of your roof, where it will be within your chicken’s view. You can purchase an owl decoy from Cabella’s here.
- Relatively cheap
- No major patio & porch alterations required
- A scare tactic approach
- May not be effective long-term
3. Give Your Chickens Better Roaming Areas
As we said before, chickens are curious creatures. If you give them more enticing areas to explore, they’ll probably spend less time on your patio or porch. Chickens love scratching around in dirt and grass. If you have a garden area, they’ll search for insects, slugs, and snails (they’ll also eat some of your harvest). Give them a dust bath, and they’ll snooze in the sun. Just keep in mind that chickens can also be destructive in small areas. There’s no set consensus on how much space you’ll need to prevent chickens from “overworking” an area, but most people with at least ½ an acre of roaming space and no more than five chickens will experience minimal destruction.
- Might already be part of your space
- Minimal work
- Beneficial for your chickens
- Not feasible for all spaces
- Not a real barrier to keep chickens away from patio or porch
- Can allow chickens to be destructive to other parts of your backyard
4. Create a Barrier with Chicken Wire, Fences, or Shrubs
Adding a fence around your patio with chicken wire, wood, iron, or shrubs can physically keep chickens from exploring your porch or patio. Unfortunately, chickens can jump over 6 feet with the right amount of effort, so this method won’t always work with a curious hen. You could resort to clipping your chickens’ flight feathers, greatly reducing their ability to jump. However, this can cause distress to your hens and limit their defense against a predator in case they are attacked. If you combine a barrier with better roaming areas, your chickens won’t be as enticed to jump a tall barrier.
- One of the most effective solutions
- Can add beauty to your backyard
- Can keep other pets off your porch or patio too!
- An expensive solution
- Will cause distress to your chickens if their flight feathers are cut
5. Create a Barrier of Water
Alternatively, instead of building up, you can burrow down and create a barrier of water around your porch or patio. Like a moat around a castle, water around your porch or patio will completely deter chickens as they won’t take a dip or generally risk flying across. Paired with thick shrubs or grasses, your chickens won’t be able to cross over. Obviously, this isn’t a feasible solution for most people, but if you’ve always dreamed of having a man-made pond or stream, this could double as a way to keep chickens off your porch or patio.
- Very effective
- Harmless to chickens
- A complete re-design of your outdoor space
6. Fence Off an “Aviary” Area or Use a Movable Chicken Run
It may be clear now that keeping chickens off of your porch or patio isn’t an easy task. If you try one of the options above and still can’t seem to keep your chickens away, you could purchase a movable chicken run or build an “aviary.” This is a designated space for your chickens to roam. A chicken run can be a permanent extension of their coop or a movable structure. Chicken runs come in a variety of sizes. Omlet, a pet housing designer and manufacturer, has created a subtle walk-in chicken run that can be configured to your ideal width and length.
Omlet walk-in chicken run can be purchased here.
If you’d rather build a chicken run yourself, this YouTube tutorial gives you the necessary steps!
- The most effective solution
- Protects from predators
- Wide range of building/purchasing options
- Designated space required
- Not the cheapest option