I love my chickens. Couldn’t dream of being without them. I feed them all my weeds. I feed them grass clippings. I use the manure in the garden. They eat lots of bugs. They give me lots of fresh, wonderful tasting eggs. They need little care. Withstand 30 below zero without supplemental heating. They are fun. I believe they are the only animal that can be kept on small acreage that actually pay for themselves. They are an integral part of my garden. I call them my compost machines.

I am waiting for my land lord to ok a few chickens on my acre vege garden are your hens free ranging or do they need to be contained to where you would like them? Would they totally decimate a brassica patch for example? And the old fox problem…..all the locals gather on my raised beds at night, are chickens a definite no for me do you think? A moveable arc might be the best answer to start with and then learn about it all as I go.

Most chickens naturally go inside at night. A secure coop prevents many problems. A small light helps to get them to go in. The breeds and some individuals that stay outside tend to roost in trees and are somewhat protected. Chickens will wander but not like gunea hens or turkeys. We generally have small plants starting in the garden and so do not allow the birds in there. Some folks do allow them in with mature crops and say it’s fine. Of course the birds also eat lots of bugs and worms and this is both helpful and harmful. They will harvest some feed from your compost. A farmcollie is very helpful both to protect the birds and to keep deer and other intruders from the garden.

With no insult to bearded collies most no longer have the instincts of the old farmcollies. A farmcollie is not just a collie who happens to be on a farm. Since we got a farmcollie we have had no deer or others critters in the garden. Nor have we had critters take out chickens.