I love my pet chick­ens. I don’t always love what they do to my garden.

If you have vis­ited here before, you may know that I’m in the habit of let­ting the chick­ens go on walk­a­bout for a few hours in the late after­noon and early evening. This is the time of day they have fin­ished their egg lay­ing chores and are ready for a lit­tle bit of exer­cise and fresh air. Gen­er­ally, I’m either out­side nearby or have the win­dows open so that I can hear the dis­tinc­tive alarm that means “Warn­ing! Warning!”

But I can’t always keep an eye on all the hens. They amble here, run there and gen­er­ally take in the whole front and back yard scam­per­ing after bugs, worms, snakes and sala­man­ders. Rarely do they travel in  one large pack. They usu­ally amble around in twosies and three­sies. Tina Turner is usu­ally off in her own la-la land.

The fence around the potager keeps them out of trou­ble there. But they can play heck with the rest of the place with their deter­mined scratch­ing, scratch­ing, scratch­ing for bugs. And the Num­ber One Rule of Chicken For­ag­ing is:  Dig up any­thing Robin just planted.

The last straw was when they absolutely destroyed a beau­ti­ful new Heuchera ‘Mys­te­ria’ . It was a gor­geous bur­gundy and pink in full bloom. They scratched it out of exis­tence. Baaaaad chickens!

So, for one of the Lowe’s Cre­ative Ideas projects I decided to build some cloches to pro­tect the newly planted. Lowe’s pro­vided a $100 gift card and let me loose to make some­thing under the head­ing of “Fur­ni­ture Fun.”

Now, let me state right up front that I have exactly ZERO expe­ri­ence doing wood­work­ing projects. I have no wood­work­ing power tools except for a drill. I had no pat­tern to fol­low. I just had an idea. So, here’s what I came up with.

Don’t laugh too hard. And don’t send me links of your own gor­geous wood­work­ing projects to make me feel even more inept. I don’t think it’s bad at all for some­one who never did her own wood­work­ing project in her life. And it works!

For the project, I used the fol­low­ing mate­ri­als and tools:

- Strips of craft wood
– Chicken wire
– L-brackets of two dif­fer­ent sizes—big and less big (I think those are the tech­ni­cal terms)
– Power sta­pler
– Wire cut­ters
– Screws
– Screw­driver
– Metal joint tacks
– Hand saw
– Ham­mer
– White out­door deck stain
– Paint brush
– Sand­ing pad

I cut strips of the wood and assem­bled them into squares. I used joint tacks to hold them together and then sta­pled squares of the chicken wire. I topped that assem­blage with another assem­bled wood square. I attached the squares together using L-brackets and then painted the whole contraption—I mean cloche.

I will be mak­ing more cloches of dif­fer­ent sizes. For the next cloche I will paint the wood strips before assem­bling the squares so that the naked wood isn’t show­ing between the sandwiched-together squares. It will also help to pro­tect the cloche out in the rain. I think I’ll also inves­ti­gate some of the classes that Lowe’s offers from time to time to see if I can get some real help learn­ing more wood­work­ing skills.

My first Lowe’s Cre­ative Ideas project—a con­crete planter—is here.

Check back here through­out the next few months, because there are more projects, give­aways and other blog­gers’ projects to explore.

Lowe’s has some pretty cool Pin­ter­est boards too. Go check them out.


Be Socia­ble, Share!
There are 14 comments
Filed in: Chickens, DIY, Gardening

14 Responses to “My DIY Summer — A Protective Cloche (Take That, You Chickens!)”

  1. Cindy, MCOK Says:

    Robin, I think that’s bril­liant! Well done!

  2. Carol Says:

    Well done. Can I put in an order for some? I don’t have chick­ens, but I do have wild rab­bits. I could use a lot of them in many sizes…

  3. Frances Says:

    It’s adorable and should pro­tect your plants while look­ing good at the same time. I like that you painted it white to match your fence and stuff.

  4. Leslie Says:

    Every year I quickly patch together some pathetic cover to keep the spar­rows who haven’t left town yet from eat­ing my seed sprouts. I am going to try to make a cou­ple of these proac­tively. They look per­fect. I’ll just use hard­ware cloth since I know from expe­ri­ence they will hop through chicken wire.

  5. Gail Says:

    Well done! Love that you painted it to match your potager!

  6. Kylee from Our Little Acre Says:

    I’ve wanted to do some­thing sim­i­lar (longer) to tem­porar­ily cover a small bed I have on my patio, to keep the cats from using it for their own per­sonal lit­ter box. Once the hostas and other plants get large enough in the spring, they stay out of it. You’ve given me the inspi­ra­tion to do it myself so I have it ready to go next spring!

  7. Patsy Bell Hobson Says:

    I love this project. Great idea.

  8. Brandi Says:

    Looks good to me. It seems sturdy and does the job it was designed to do. That spells suc­cess in my book. :)

  9. Jodie Says:

    I love it. I’m going to make a few of these as well. When I turned my back the other day, the girls got in my pink lemon tree pot. Big no no! They had me fooled that they weren’t inter­ested. Big mis­take! Need­less to say, there aren’t any more trees adorn­ing their run anymore.

  10. johnsgardentools Says:

    THe cage is a beau­ti­ful idea. I will have to try some­thing like that as well.

  11. Nina Says:

    Nice idea there!

    I’m gonna try this at home too. Maybe I need to cre­ate some­thing big­ger than this because I have so many naughty pets at home. And maybe I could put some dec­o­ra­tive things around it to make it more attrac­tive than just a pro­tec­tive cloche.

  12. DJ Says:

    Hi, Robin. You need to send one of your cloches to Cindy (MCOK) to put that bad metal fish in — the one that caused that big gash in her leg! :>)

  13. Lisa and Robb Says:

    Very impres­sive! We’re still new to chick­ens, and are try­ing to fig­ure out how to allow them out to roam in our gar­den. At the moment, we’ve got a large hen­house and a portable “tractor.”

  14. Jon @ The Garden Furniture Centre Says:

    They look way too good to be labelled as mere cloches. I daren’t show this to my good wife as I’ll be tasked with knock­ing together at least half-a-dozen of them.

    Robin, you really don’t have any prior wood-working expe­ri­ence? Come on now ;-)

Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, is now available from Taunton Press. Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


Email Updates

To get the latest Bumblebee posts in your email box, just enter your email address.

  • Tags

  • Recent Posts

  • Google