We love having our chickens free-range in our backyard. They eat a wider range of food, which saves us some money on chicken feed and also makes their eggs taste ten times better. But they can be really destructive in the garden beds – trampling seedlings in search for the next great worm.

It’s even more important for backyard ducks to have some free-range access, in my humble opinion. They need a greater amount of space than chickens and it will be a nice, neutral environment for them mix in with the chicken flock. Because each group will have a pecking order established, I imagine there will be some sorting out of “who’s the boss” when they move outside.

We were at the feed store this weekend and decided to spring $30 bucks for some livestock fencing. It’s not the super strong goat/horse/cow fencing, but it’s stronger than chicken wire.

I used rebar hammered into the ground so about two feet remained above ground level. Our local recycling store, Bring, is basically giving away PVC pipes. I put those over the rebar as fence posts. With my little nephews helping out, we wound the fencing around the beds and used plastic zipties to hold them to the existing fence and the PVC pipes.

I am surprised about a few things. It was super easy. It was fairly cheap. And it’s totally portable. When we move out of this rental house, we just have to pull up the PVC pipes and rebar, wind up the fencing, and move into the next place.

It’s not perfect, mind you. A couple more PVC/rebar fence posts halfway long the sides will help it not to sag. The entrance into the garden is “rustic”. I basically left an overhang on the fencing that you roll back to enter. I hook it to the opposite fence post to keep it “closed”.

No more chickens scratching up the vegetable patch. And no more cats (including ours) using the nice garden loam as a litter box. A little ingenuity and thirty bucks sure went a long way for us this weekend!

***Reminder, you can come visit me at Powell’s Burnside location this weekend in Portland! I will be there signing my new book, Modern Homestead, from 4:00p-6:00p.

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