Keeping Chickens from your Strawberries.

I love chickens. They’re not like dogs, which for me, is a plus. They’re practical—useful, productive, and helpful—pets who actually help instead of harm. Anyway, I also love strawberries. But without a barrier between the two on your farm, your chickens will find apt time to eat all your strawberries, or at least pluck, bite or play with your them. The pictures above depict this. (Minus the duck, who at least claims she wasn’t eating any. ‘m not sure I trust her.)

I’ve heard a lot of ways to keep chickens from your prized fruits, but none, save an actual wall, had fidelity. A fence would have to be 24 feet of chicken wire and that was something that wasn’t going to go down in my small garden. There was also a technique involving special spice baths to deter the chickens. But my garden was supposed to output food, not be an input for it. So that wasn’t what I wanted either.

I sprang a brand new idea. I really wasn’t certain it would work. But it had to be worth the try so I initiated this reckless plan.

If you’re an experienced (or just read-up) chicken farmer, you’d know that sometimes chickens eat their own eggs. Egg-eating can become a vogue in your coup extremely quickly. To combat this, chicken farmers often place ceramic eggs in the coup to deter the chickens from this treacherous behavior. Some reason, the hardness makes chickens turn their noses (beaks? Maybe.) and leave the eggs. I’ve never tried this, but these façade eggs were commercially available. So I knew it had to work. My entrepreneurial instincts told me I could fool this fowls. But beyond the eggs, I’d never heard of this. I was unsure. These were the same instincts that told me to make a crossbow that didn’t work, stilts that collapsed under me, and a homemade, nonlethal mouse trap (I fed that mouse a lot of pb.). With that much hope, I set about a new project, this time to make (you guessed it!) fake strawberries!

Me and the ‘strawberries’.

I pattered up to the street the same day I hatched this unlikely plot and began to collect rock that I could later paint. I was wiggling a particularly large one out of the sandy clay when an elderly neighbor walked by with his gold doodle.

“What’re you doing, young man?”

“Collecting strawberries.” I told him. Even his dog looked at me weirdly.

Just kidding, but I could imagine the scene very clearly. I washed my rocks and then painted them.

‘Easter Eggs’

The next day, I was seating at the dining table, painting rocks pink. My hands got covered with the coral color I was using. No wonder, I thought, no one does this. I feel like a toddler. I added blotches and patches of pale green, lurid red, and more pink. I was laughing at myself. No way this was going to work.

Can you tell which is which? Rock or fruit?

But the next morning, despite my doubts, I was out in the garden, distributing valentine colors painted rocks like a parent would Easter eggs. The ducks quacked and the chickens sang impatiently from the coup, much like small children waiting for candy. The end result was not convincing.

I let my girlies out and let them to the strawberry/rock garden bed. To my surprise, they actually mistook the stones for fruit and tried to eat them. Annoyed, they just passed through, picking at one rock and then another. I haven’t lost a strawberry since. Oddly, they even went for some of the odd colored ones that didn’t even look strawberry. I think the gaudy ones distracted them from the real ones. So by not looking like them, they were proven more effective. The chickens did look at me quite disappointedly, though.

In summary, I have fooled my chickens to keep them from eating my fruits. If you have this problem, I hope this helps you. If you don’t, I hope you enjoyed the post and the pictures.

Isaiah 55:7  
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 

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