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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