I can see in your imagination several chickens walking the picket line with signs that say “Put Chickens to Work!”
Yes! Put them to work in your garden! Your garden is pure fun for a chicken. Oh, and scratching up bug eggs is a joy. Plus, a little fertilizing of your garden is natural. What a job your chickens will love.
Build your coop in a corner of your garden. Place their house in the coop. When garden season is over, let them out of the gate into the garden. ( I sometimes let one out during tomato season to eat any lurking tomato worms.)
Put up about a 2 foot chicken wire fence around the garden perimeter. This will keep rabbits out and the chickens in. If the chickens start flying out, clip the wing feathers of one of their wings. If you clip both wings, they can still fly.
At night when they go back into their coop and into their house, shut the gate so raccoons and other critters can’t get in to steal them.
Jesus said, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how I would have gathered you under my wings as a hen gathereth her chicks.” Sometimes I feel like the hen gathering her chickens. I so enjoy and work on protecting them. And they in turn seem to enjoy working for me!
NOTE Since I wrote this, there was some bad luck and I had to move. My chickens were just getting ready to lay when I had to give them away. I hope they are still happy and eating lots of bugs!