If you have backyard chickens and let them free-roam, you might find that they come onto your porch. This can be a problem for a number of reasons. If your porch is made of wood, the chickens may scratch and peck at the wood, and this could damage it. They will also leave droppings, which may be difficult to remove.
Ways You Can Prevent Access To Your Porch
There are numerous things that you can do to prevent access to your porch. These will make it difficult for your hens to get onto the porch and limit them to areas where they are allowed to roam freely around.
Install Physical Barriers
Physical barriers such as fencing or netting can help to keep your chickens off the porch. Many older farmhouses often have a fence that surrounds the house. This was particularly important when farmers had different types of animals that were allowed to free-range, including chickens, cows, and horses.
While this might not be the perfect solution for everyone, it can be helpful in many situations. If you think that a full fence might be required, make sure that it’s at least 5 feet high because even hens with their wings clipped can still get over a lower fence if they’re determined to get on your porch.
Alternatively, you might want something like a post and rail fence that you cover with chicken wire or wire cloth. This can be a highly effective way to keep your chickens out of your living spaces.
Some backyard chicken owners have also found that tying a yellow ribbon around the perimeter of the fenced area, even if the fence is short, can be a good visual deterrent.
To go even further, you can string an electric wire around the perimeter fence. Once your chickens get a jolt from the low-voltage wire, they’re unlikely to want to cross the barrier again. Just make sure that you let everyone else know that the fence has been electrified to avoid any unpleasant shocks.
Train Your Chickens To Avoid The Porch
Many people have had success with using motion-activated sprinklers to keep chickens off their porches. This type of system can be quite an effective way to train your hens to avoid the porch area because as they approach, the motion sensor sets off the sprinklers.
You can place the sprinklers around the perimeter of your porch or at the bottom of the steps leading up to the porch. The only disadvantage to this system is that the sprinklers will also be set off by both people and other animals that want to step onto the porch.
However, once your chickens are trained to stay off the porch, you can start to deactivate the sprinklers so that they don’t become a problem.
If you don’t want to install motion-activated sprinklers, there are other ways to train your chickens, but these are more hands-on and require diligence and patience. For example, you can have a hose nearby, and every time you see a chicken trying to get on the porch, you spray it with water.
Or, you could just simply yell at them, waving your arms at the same time or even waving a brightly colored cloth to scare them away. Make sure you use a firm command like “Get off” every time you do this.
Use Deterrents To Keep Chickens Off The Porch
There are many ways that you can make the porch unattractive to your hens so that they won’t want to come onto it. Firstly, make sure that you remove potential food sources and always keep your porch spotlessly clean.
You also want to remove possible water sources that the hens might be attracted to. This includes water bowls for your pets and saucers filled with water under your pot plants. Even a leaky faucet can be attractive to your chickens on a hot day. Here are some other things you can do.
Install Some Fake Predators
These are the same type of things that you might use around your fruit trees to keep birds away. They include things like fake owls, hawks, and snakes. You can place some of these around the perimeter of your porch or on the steps.
But remember that chickens are quite smart and will quickly work out that your fake decoys are not real. For this reason, you want to move them around often to try and fool your hens. Some of these fake decoys are also available with mechanical movements and sounds.
Use Odors That Chickens Don’t Like
You’ll find that chickens can be deterred by strong odors, especially those from herbs and spices. These can be either sprinkled around the perimeter of your porch, or you might like to grow some of these in pots and place these around the perimeter and on the steps.
Consider herbs and spices such as black pepper, curry powder, garlic, cinnamon, and even citrus peels.
It’s also known that some of these spices can cause discomfort to your hens when they walk over them. While this is not harmful to the chickens, if you sprinkle some of these spices over the steps of the porch, it might just prove unpleasant enough to keep your hens off it.
Popular herbs that you can grow in pots to deter chickens include lavender, oregano, mint, lemon balm, thyme, and chamomile. Even flowers such as marigolds, impatiens, petunias, and alyssum are known to deter chickens.
Offer Your Chickens Better Places To Explore
Chickens will often come onto your porch because it provides some shelter and gives them a nice high spot to perch. While you’re making your porch as unattractive as possible to your hens, also consider offering them some much more attractive places that will appeal to them.
You could choose to erect some nice perches that are close to the porch that your chickens may prefer. As your hens get used to these and enjoy using them, gradually move them further away from your porch and closer to their coop.
This is another clever way to train your hens to stay off the porch.
You also want to make sure that you feed your chickens well away from your porch so that they don’t get used to running to greet you as soon as you walk out the door. Your hens will soon learn where their regular feeding spot is and will wait for you there as long as you set up a regular routine.
It goes without saying that you want to locate your chicken coop as far away from the porch as possible. Even if your hens are allowed to free-roam, they will tend to stay fairly close to the coop because it offers them a safe haven.
In addition, you want to provide your hens with lots of nice shady spots away from your porch where they can get away from the hot summer sun. If there is no shade around your yard, the hens will find your porch irresistible, and you’ll have lots of trouble keeping them off.
Why Are Chickens Attracted To Your Porch In The First Place
There are many reasons why they might be attracted to your porch.
Firstly, chickens are naturally curious, and many breeds are also highly sociable. Therefore, they may see you out on the porch and want to find out what makes this space so attractive to you.
It’s also common for people to leave out food and water for their pets on their porches. This is one of the primary things that will attract chickens onto your porch and practice that you’re going to have to change.
Lastly, your porch provides a nice shady spot for your chickens to escape the hot summer sun, and it’s even more attractive if your porch has railings that allow the hens to perch high up off the ground.
So, many of the things that make your porch attractive to you are also the reasons that your hens will find it equally attractive.
Why It’s Important To Keep Chickens Off The Porch
Not only will your chickens possibly cause damage to the structure of your porch by pecking at the timber railings and surrounds, but their droppings can harbor bacteria or diseases that are dangerous to humans.
Secondly, you want to be able to use the porch to sit and admire your garden and don’t want to share it with your hens.
Lastly, chickens can carry diseases that are harmful to humans, and you want to limit your exposure, especially if you have young children and often enjoy a snack on your porch.
This is why it’s important to keep your chickens off the porch. Here are some ways that this can be achieved while still allowing your hens to roam free around your garden.