Stop Chickens From Scratching Up Your Trees and Shrubs

Protect Trees from Chickens

Happy chickens scratch. They scratch a lot. Trees and shrubs are not so fond of having their roots unearthed by chickens, but that does not dissuade the chickens, who will happily scratch and dig until they practically uproot a small tree if they think there might be a worm in it for them. In my yard, [Continue Reading…]

Get A Shovel. This is Urban Homesteading.

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Today I put about thirty pounds of pork belly into cure for bacon and pancetta, made a loaf of bread, mixed a bottle of homemade citrus cleaner, and buried one dead chicken. Get a shovel. This is urban homesteading. If you keep chickens, dead chickens are part of the deal. You get what you get [Continue Reading…]

You Absolutely Should Not Get Backyard Chickens

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I was talking to a friend the other day. She’s a gentle soul, a kind-hearted person who says, “I could never kill an animal” with wide, pained eyes that let you know she’s not talking in hyperbole. She wants chickens. She wants them bad. She wants the experience of fluffy little chicks and she wants [Continue Reading…]

Adding A New Chicken To An Established Flock

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My neighbor rang my doorbell yesterday. She was holding this chicken. She had just come from her kids’ school, where the chicken had been wandering the busy parking lot, causing all kinds of havoc by darting under and around the station wagons and mini vans. My neighbor’s eleven year old daughter is a natural Animal [Continue Reading…]

The Crappy Composter’s Secret To Perfect Compost

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Maybe you are a compost geek. Maybe you totally adore balancing greens and browns and maybe the challenge of maintaining a 155 degree pile for days on end really hits your g-spot (g for “gardener,” naturally). If that describes you, this post isn’t for you. This post is for those of us who basically suck [Continue Reading…]

Battling Mulch Mountain at the Chicken Coop Door

Chicken Coop Sand Bed and More (7)

I suspect anyone who has a chicken coop with a human-sized door has encountered the problem of door-blockage. Chickens adore kicking and scratching in the straw and dirt and debris of the coop floor, and tend to make little mountains and valleys from their scratching efforts. Mulch Mountain The mountain chickens create is always immediately [Continue Reading…]

Coop Improvement: Nesting Box Failures and Successes

Chicken Coop Sand Bed and More (6)

The nesting box is a pretty important part of the coop – it’s where the chickens, hopefully, lay their eggs. Our nesting box has seen a couple of modification lately. One worked. One really didn’t. Let’s start with the failure, shall we? Fail! Using Shredded Paper For Nesting Box Material In an effort to turn [Continue Reading…]

Chicken Coop Update: Sand Bed-Deep Litter Hybrid System

Chicken Coop Sand Bed and More (3)

I’ve had a few readers ask for coop updates since we switched the area under the rooting bars from straw to sand. Ask and ye shall receive. Sand Bed Update The sand bed under the roosting bars is working out very well. The sand works like kitty litter and dries the chicken poop out. There is [Continue Reading…]

Giveaway: Free Range Chicken Gardens and The Fresh Egg Cookbook

Free Range Chicken Gardens - Jessi Bloom

Edible gardeners want to eat what they grow. Chicken owners want happy egg-laying helpers. But happy, free-ranging chickens will mess up a veggie patch faster than you can say cotyledon. And that is the conflict garden-growing chicken-owners face. Thankfully, Free-Range Chicken Gardens, the new book by landscape designer and chicken expert Jessi Bloom, tells you how [Continue Reading…]

Solitary Confinement for Chickens

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When I let the hens out for some free range time yesterday, I noticed one of the Austra Whites was bloodied about the comb. We have two of this breed, and the other one was bullied a few months ago in the same way. I was so concerned about the mess of blood on our [Continue Reading…]

The Real Bounty of The Coop (Hint: It’s Not Eggs)

Chicken Litter Compost

Chickens have changed the way I think about gardening, and I’m not just talking about bull-rushing a garden bed to shoo the little cluckers out of my arugula. Again. No, something is happening to the way I think about garden inputs and outputs, and it all hinges on chicken shit. Before we got our hens [Continue Reading…]

More Coop Improvement Projects: Sand Bed-Deep Litter Hybrid and More

Sand Bed in Hen House - 2x2 "Lip" Between Walls and Center Support

I like working on the coop. This past weekend I swapped the raised hen house area of the chicken coop from a straw-bed floor to a sand-bed floor. When I bought our first two hens, who we acquired as grown layers, the owner kept an immaculate coop with a sand bed under the roosting area and swore [Continue Reading…]