Friday 11 September 2015

How I keep the chickens off the balcony

I have spoken before about the annoyance of our chickens coming up the stairs and treating my balcony as their own. I thought it was quite clever when they learnt to climb the stairs. I soon learnt that it wasn't clever, it was really annoying, as once they'd done it the first time, they kept on doing it, popping upstairs, perching over everything and leaving smelly little chicken deposits!
No more!

Behold! I have come up with a low tech solution that works for everyone. I call it... material scraps on string! I had an old shirt that was in the scrap bin because it was too holey, so I simply cut some long strips from that and tied it to a piece of twine. Make sure the strips are long enough that they'll twirl about in the wind.
Tied to one side of the stairs and then looped back around, I fastened the two ends together with a paperclip so that I could undo as required and not have to step over it all the time.
I arranged it so that it was high enough for the dogs to go underneath, but not so high that the chickens think it inconsequential. As I was taking a photo, Toby obligingly trotted down the stairs and posed.

Here is the view from above. I'm getting baleful glares from our still-unproductive chickens, and the two hounds are obligingly posing either side of my barrier. You can also see a trail of deposits I have to clean off the stairs from the last time I chased the poultry down from the balcony. It was that that tipped me over the edge and made me determined to find a solution.
I'm hoping that they will soon learn to stay downstairs and I'm able to remove the string after awhile as I imagine it will get annoying having to undo it to pass all the time. Still, for a little bit of extra effort, I will feel much happier not having to clean poo from the balcony before I let Jimmy and Ellie out to play. Hurrah for that!

It has been up for a number of days now and the chickens seem to be respecting the boundary I've set, most of the time. Now I have a (mostly) chicken free balcony, and garden. I'm open to suggestions that will change the 'most' to 'all the time' though!

Any other tips for deterring chickens other than physical barriers?

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