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Do you really want chickens?

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About six years ago a client asked me to help her design and locate a chicken coop.  Frankly, I thought it was a strange idea.  She was in the “high rent” district of Los Angeles and I have always thought about chickens as being rural or farm activities.  She told me how amazing fresh eggs are and how she actually liked the chickens.  I agreed to help but didn’t take assignment too seriously.

I had no idea then how popular the practice would become.  I was doing a Feng Shui consultation for another client who already had a chicken coop set up when I had my first chance to really see the chickens and relate to them.  I realized how incredibly beautiful many of them are and what sweet noises they make.  My client told me that they not only seem to recognize her but also also show what she interprets as affection toward her so they actually act like pets. I just spoke with yet another client last week that asked me to give her more details on adding a chicken garden to her home and that is when I realized that this is becoming a trend.

Want your own fresh eggs?  Here are some of the benefits and tips that you can use to get chickens started in your garden.  First they need a place to live- a coop that has nest boxes and a chicken run with a clear covering.  There are literally dozens of plans and chicken coops that you can find on the web.  You may even find feed or livestock stores around that carry them.  Even in urban Los Angeles, I was able to locate 3 sources for chicks, coops, and feed.

I understand that the most fun part is to pick the chicks.  There are so many different types of chicks available and eggs from different chicks come in different colors too.  Once you have the chicks home, you have to think about feeding them and allowing them forage in your garden.   You will need to be aware that some common plants are dangerous for your chicken such as foxglove, daffodils, lantana, nightshade and yew.   Which plants are you going to give up to chicken nibbles and which plants do you want for yourself?  Chicks won’t generally eat junipers, rosemary or onions but will love marigolds (that help yellow up their yolks), all kinds of greens like chard, and grasses.

Finally, let’s talk about the benefits of chicken gardening.  Besides the eggs and pet aspects, think poop.  You can compost their waste and use it to fertilize your entire garden.  It will provide one of the riches composts and your plants will love it!

So now the big question is – am I going to do a chicken garden?  The answer comes from my loving husband- “Why would you do that?  I don’t like eggs”

 

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Discussion

  1. Shelley Sparks  May 2, 2013

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    (reply)
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