As much as our family enjoys letting our chickens free range around the yard, there are times when I want to keep them off my patio or out of my newly planted vegetable or flower beds. Chickens will scritch and scratch at the soil all day long looking for those yummy bugs and don’t mind tearing up the planting beds in the process. How I contain my chickens when necessary is with a temporary fence. A temporary fence gives me the flexibility of deciding what part of the yard or which planting bed the chickens can graze in while keeping them away from plants they can damage.
While you can buy ready-made portable fences at farm and feed stores, I find these much too expensive for my budget. Here is how I make my own temporary fence out of supplies found at the hardware store.
You only need three items to make a temporary fence to hold in your chickens. These include metal T-posts, green plastic fencing, and a rubber mallet. All of these can be found at a place like Home Depot or Lowe’s.
T-posts are portable fence posts often used by farmers to enclose a pasture. You can expect to pay around $3.27 for a 5 foot post and $5.88 for a 6 foot post. As far as quantity, I use one post for every 10 feet of fencing material.
For fencing material, you have several options which include everything from green plastic fencing to vinyl poultry fencing, and plain old chicken wire. The cheapest material available is 40″ green plastic fencing which comes in 25-foot rolls for $12.97 a roll at Home Depot. Even though I usually try to avoid plastic-made items, this plastic fencing works best for me since it’s easier to work with, doesn’t rust, and doesn’t scratch or hook onto the clothes.
Installing the temporary fence
Installing a cheap, temporary fence with these materials is quite simple since all that’s required is to tap the T-posts into the ground to a depth of 8-10 inches and then hook the fencing material to the clips found on the post itself. How simple is that? This type of fence is so easy to install that it takes me less than 15 minutes to set up 60 feet of fencing. Moving it to a different location is equally as easy since the posts pull right out of the ground when it’s time to set up the fence elsewhere.
While a temporary fence made of T-posts and plastic fencing material doesn’t look as pretty as the $200 runs you can buy at the feed stores, they are a great solution for backyard chicken farmers who like to let their chickens free range in certain parts of the yard. Best of all, it can be rolled up and put into storage for the times when a fence isn’t needed at all.
More by this contributor:
How to install t-posts the right way
5 ways urban chickens can benefit a backyard
How much does it cost to raise chickens?