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Blooming-May

• African daisies
• California Poppy
• Calendula
• Calla Lily
• Narcissus
• Lavander
• Ivy geranium
• Mexican Sage
• Pride of Madera
• Lantana
• Society garlic
• Wild geranium

Harvesting-May

• Baby arugula
• Onion and garlic greens
• Thyme
• Rhubarb
• Parsley
• Strawberries

           

Chickens Eat My Garden

Tulip Sees Leaf Outside Gate

Because I have six hens and love to garden, people often ask,”Are chickens and gardens compatible?” My answer is, except for cleaning up bugs and providing manure for soil enrichment, they are definitely not! Chickens eat about every vegetation they can get their beaks on. If the hens “free-ranged” in my garden, there wouldn’t be a leaf or flower left.

Tulip Grabs Leaf

The hens also disrupt the garden by dust batheing between the roses, pooping on the walks, scratching up seeds, and, in general, doing what comes naturally in the world of poultry. The hens are confined to the coop run during the day and the henhouse at night.

Tulip Eats Leaf. Yummmmmm.

Once in a while, the hens will escape their enclosure. Something will startle them (after all, they are “chickens”) and one or two of them will run out the gate that I’ve left ajar as I go about my clean-up chores. The excitement in their eyes quickly turns to concern. “Am I really out here under an apple tree all alone?”

To their great relief, I pick them up or shoooo them back inside the run where they rejoin their sisters, clucking and sharing the story of their brief adventure with their flockmates.

I would love to let the hens free-range.  They would be so happy running around in a large area. But we have foxes and hawks that visit our yard regularly and our hens are virtually defenseless against these predators. Someday, perhaps, when I want to garden less, we’ll extend the run and turn over more of the landscape to the “girls”. Until then, they’ll have to stay in their yard, and I’ll stay in mine.
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