At this time of the year I take a few simple steps to protect specific plants from my chickens. Right now it is tomatoes, which are ripe for the picking… the other day I caught my oldest buff orpington trying to hide from me with a little red tomato in her beak. She is so sneaky and smart, hopefully she didn’t teach anyone else! None the less, I knew it was time to get out the netting. No use in taking the risk without it – my tomatoes are doing great.
I use regular bird netting, because it can be easily customized (height, length) with scissors for just about any plant or grouping of plants, it is easy to reuse, cheap, and it is practically invisible so it doesn’t become a huge eyesore, but the chickens don’t mess with it at all! I just put it along the perimeter of that area about 3′ tall, with a few rocks at the base so they don’t sneak underneath and voila! No more tomato theft from the hens! Doing it later in the season prevents plants growing through the mesh and creating a mess when it comes to clean up time.
There are many more ideas and info on materials that can be used for protecting plants in my book – which if I haven’t mentioned already, you can pre-order it already!