Citrus sabotage most fowl!

I have tried really hard to grow a lemon tree or even any kind of citrus for that matter and over the years I have failed miserably.  Then recently I thought I’d try again, but I would kill two birds with one stone.  However there was a point when killing birds with stones seemed like a good idea.  But at the time I thought I’d be kind and plant the two victims – I mean citrus trees, a lime and a lemon, in the chicken coop so it can grow up and give them shade.  I thought I was being nice to the chickens.

This will stop the chicken - Yeah right!

This will stop the chickens – Yeah right!

Chickens don’t seem to have any sensitivity at all.  They didn’t care how much these precious trees meant to me and what value they would receive in the future.  No all they think about is ‘scratch, scratch, scratch, I wonder if I can destroy this?’  So they began to dig up my trees.

 I thought I’d foiled them by putting down some coconut fibre linings to act as a mulch.  While a great mulch it is absolutely useless as a chicken deterrent as the chickens reduced it to fluff in no time and continued with the tree destruction and root extraction of my precious wee trees.

It didn't stop the chickens.

It didn’t stop the chickens.

This situation was intolerable – I knew that the trees were up against the odds just by being in my possession, but to be attacked by chickens made me see red!  Something needed to be done.  I cast my eye across the garden hoping a simple solution would come to me.  I saw the mini raised beds that had come off the black currants and I saw a load of chicken wire that I hadn’t put away from a previous project.  I came up with a crazy idea that may just work.

This should stop the chickens!

This should stop the chickens!

I put the mini raised beds over the trees, and added more soil and compost to replace what the chickens had scratched away.  Then I laid down some more coconut fibre to act as a mulch and protect my trees from weeds.  Around the inside edges I sprinkled some special chicken plant seeds from a pack I had just recently bought and then attached chicken wire to the top of the bed with a hole in the middle for the tree to grow through.

Hopefully I have created an impenetrable fortress to keep my trees safe and provided the ungrateful chickens with a perpetual snack, because as the plants from the chicken plant seeds grow up to the top of the chicken wire they will be able to peck the top off, but the plant will be able to continue to grow as the destructive birds won’t be able to scratch it up.  This should work… in theory.  And hopefully I have done everything to protect my citrus trees and we will get lemons…. In theory!

Haha! The chickens have been stopped!

Haha! The chickens have been stopped!

Come again soon – aside from being distracted by chickens the garden is still a productive place!

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

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17 Comments on “Citrus sabotage most fowl!

  1. OOOOh, those rotten birds! I love my chickens but they do play hell on my garden. I’ve given up mulching anything. Good idea with the box though, they look befuddled!

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    • Hi Jenn. Chickens drive me nuts.. Just when I have done everything humanly possible to keep them contained in their chicken area, they seem to find a way to escape. They are much more intelligent than people give them credit for.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  2. Such a good idea to stop the little blighters. Only thing is I think the citrus roots are really shallow and don’t like much competition from other plants taking their water (and fertiliser if you add it). I’ve put lots of big stones around mine to keep the roots cool and help avoid damaging them with over zealous weeding (not that that’s ever likely to happen … I wish!). Might be another option.

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    • Hi Fiona. Thanks for the advice. Once they get going I will look into the stone thing, however as the long term plan is to use the trees to offer the chickens shade, the stones will have to be big enough to resist chickens scratching them up. The chicken food plants were sown around the edge of the box – a long way from the actual tree roots so I think for this season we are ok. Cheers Sarah : o )

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  3. That’s a great idea and the chickens seem to be having fun – without destroying your tree. Good luck with the lemons and limes. My lemon tree in Portugal is quite big but a bad producer (ie nothing for the past two years and before that, about 4 lemons in seven years) – it’s variegated and I think that’s it’s problem. It’s got one more chance to produce then I think we’ll have to use it as firewood!

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    • Hi Lizzie. Gosh I hadn’t thought of the possibility of not getting any lemons! I’ve been so focused on getting the trees to stay alive in the first place.
      Good luck with your next harvest. I wonder what flavour lemonwood would give to something smoked?
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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      • Great with fish and chicken I should imagine! I’ll stick some rosemary in there too! I’ve no doubt you have a tree of good stock and it will produce lots of lemons… fingers crossed!

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    • Hi Arthur.
      I think I have managed to protect my lemon tree, now I have to work on the fence as they are making a mockery of my attempts to keep them contained. Maybe it is some kind of protest for not being able to scratch up the lemon tree.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  4. Chickens sure can be pesky creatures. The neighbors have four that range freely, and every now and again, I have to send them back home. I may have to get a few next year to counter theirs.

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    • HI Lucinda. If you are going to have chickens scratch up your garden you might as well get eggs from them! Keeping chickens is a load of fun!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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