Gardener Benefits of a Chicken Moat

By Jani Heileman

chicken moat

Have you ever heard of a chicken moat? Do you remember watching movies that had a castle with a big drawbridge? Usually, underneath the drawbridge was a moat. What does this have to do with gardening, well, the moat around the castle was put there to protect it from enemies. As a gardener we can have something similar to this called a chicken moat. A chicken moat consists of two parallel fences that go around your garden area creating a run for chickens. The chickens will protect the perimeter from enemies, also known as bugs. They patrol the fenced in area, eliminating bugs by scratching up dirt with their claws uncovering unwanted pests, or bugs they see crawling their way to the garden.

Although chicken moats are not heard of often they are trendy with gardeners who already have chickens and a garden. Trying to find gardeners who had one was quite a challenge, but with a little work I found some individuals willing to share in their triumphs. According to these gardeners, there are three benefits to having a chicken moat.

Benefit Number One

Chicken moats have two fences that run parallel to each other, and if kept at 5' or higher with space of 5' or more, will keep deer from invading your garden. Gardeners who have had deer visit their garden know that they are destructive to the vegetables they want to eat and to those that they trample on.

Benefit Number Two

When you have chickens running around your garden they will eat most of the bugs that try to migrate in. Many gardeners have agreed that their crops had less pests due to having the chicken moat. A few have boasted that having a chicken moat has resulted in their best crops since beginning their gardening career.

Benefit Number Three

The chickens will provide rich fertilizer for next year's garden. You can make a compost to mix it with for the following year, or keep it to put directly onto the soil. Chickens will keep weeds down around the fencing, too.

The Disadvantages

Chicken will have to be of a heavy breed so that they can not fly out, or the gardener will have to clip their wings on a regular basis. The heavy chicken breeds still produce eggs, and make good meat. The materials for making a chicken moat are very expensive and time consuming. To help with the cost you could look around for old fencing that is in pretty good shape.

A garden free of pests is dream come true for any gardener, even though a chicken moat can not guarantee complete removal it is a good aid in pest prevention. A better harvest is the goal of all gardeners, but the suggestions for success are numerous. If you use fertilizer, need constant acting pest control, and want to have, or already have, chickens. A chicken moat can put together all of these tasks so that gardeners can achieve a bountiful, almost pest free harvest.