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.


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  • Cindy, MCOK says:

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

  • 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…

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Gail says:

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

  • 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!

  • I love this project. Great idea.

  • Brandi says:

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

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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! :>)

  • 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.”

  • 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 😉

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