Somewhere along the way we decided to get chickens. We built a coop inside the garden (there is that naive thing cropping up again) and fenced it with 6-foot-tall 2x4 wire. The plan was to keep the chickens in a run when there were plants growing in the garden (April through October) and feed them lots of garden leftovers.
|Chickens stripping broccoli leaves.|
We decided to get chickens again last last summer. I wanted free ranging hens this time so that meant keeping the chickens out of the garden. I pondered various fencing options and thought that I'd just put 4-foot chicken wire around the garden and put the electric wire on the outside to keep out the deer. By now, having had lots of experience with dogs, goats, and chickens, I have put up (and removed) a lot of fence of various types. Will I EVER learn??? I started with the chicken wire then ripped it down the next day after putting up a few feet of wire. Chicken wire is floppy and ugly especially when the terrain is the least bit irregular. Being in West Virginia, our farm pretty much defines irregular. Time for plan B. Give the chickens away again, save myself a lot of time and money and buy free-rang eggs from a friend. We decided against plan B and began to implement plan C.
Plan C, currently under construction, involves fencing the garden perimeter with galvanized cattle panels covered with that 4-foot chicken wire that I had already opened and used. I must say that I dearly LOVE cattle panels. I buy some every chance I get. The downside is that they are 16-feet long and to haul a number of them requires a good-sized truck. Fortunately, good friends offered to haul all my fencing materials on their flatbed truck and for this I am grateful. The up-side of cattle panels is that they are semi-rigid, virtually indestructible and I can put them up by myself. They also make great tomato fences. I often say that if I ever move away from this farm all my cattle panels are coming with me.
Anyway, back to the current fence. Since I am working alone, I lay the panels on the ground, roll the chicken wire over the panel and attach it with zip-ties. As each panel is finished, I carry it to the garden, attach it to metal t-posts with big zip-ties. Later I will go back and secure the panels with more zip-ties. I am gradually working my way around the garden adding posts and panels and it looks like this:
|Cattle panels covered in chicken wire. The electric fence will be on the outside of the panels.|
I'm nearly done putting up panels except for a double cattle-panel gate for tractor/truck access to the garden and a smaller gate for people access. This fence should keep out all the errant dogs, goats, chickens, deer, and small elephants that may wander by looking for a tasty nibble of broccoli.