Quite a while back I helped work on a chicken coop for The Garden Club. In doing research for that project this was an issue that I say folks address with varying solutions.
Some people have used chicken tractors which are large mobile enclosures. These allow the chickens to range but prevent them from getting into too much mischief.
I've also heard of using rubber snakes around the garden area with varying success. Some folks say it works great. Others have mentioned that the chickens just peck at the faux intruder.
In many of those cases the ultimate solution ended up being fence. How your approach fencing the areas in depends on the behavior of your chickens. The easiest method is to simply create a perimeter of mesh fencing around the garden supported by posts. If you however have chickens who like to hop and flutter over fences then you need to get creative. Connecting PVC pipe to form arches over the garden and then attaching the garden fencing is an inexpensive solution.
I hope this helps and get back to us with any other questions you have.
That is awesome, thank you so much for the ideas!!! I added some low fencing around an okra and pepper patch this morning. Watching to see how well it works. I thought I might try a scarecrow too, but my kids toy rubber snakes will definitely spend a couple days outside. I'll try a red-eyed dinosaur too!
The bent PVC is a great idea too, I had not considered that.
No problem at all. I'd be real interested to know how the chickens respond to the red-eyed dinosaur. Sounds like it could be hilarious. If you need any help figuring up the PVC cages be sure to get back to us.