Friday, June 17, 2011


i had always wanted a small flock of hens and was not about to let our limited space stop us from keeping them. we got our first flock about 6 years ago and have been hooked ever since. they are such a wonderful addition to the garden in so many ways.

it is so fun to collect their beautiful eggs each day. and they help to keep the insect population at bay. and let's not forget about their poop! yes it is a wonderful addition to the compost pile. but mostly we get a lot of enjoyment from just watching them scratch around in the garden and listening to their sweet little clucking sounds. we are now onto our second flock and have chosen a variety of breeds.

columbian white wynadotte

americauna (a blue egg layer. we are very excited about this!)

partridge plymouth barred rock


silver seabright bantam (a favorite around here)

they are about 2 months old now and are just starting to free range around in the garden.

they are beginning to get used to our outdoor space. one of their favorite spots is our back porch where they peck around, preen their feathers and roost up on the bench.

for those of you thinking about starting a small flock of your own, i highly recommend the book Keep Chickens! Tending Small Flocks in Cities, Suburbs, and Other Small Spaces by Barbara Kilarski. it is a simple and easy read full of information about raising healthy chickens in a small space.

the girls make the garden feel complete. heck they even help with identifying our address. when people ask where we live, i'll say "we are the house on the corner, the one with the chickens." they nod and know exactly where it is.


  1. I love your bantam and may just have to get a few to go with our flock. Have a beautiful weekend.

  2. Such nice photographs. Chickens always look so much more beautiful out and about with the green stuff than in a confined space. We used to let our chickens go everywhere, and we loved to watch them out the kitchen window, playing chicken basketball. Gradually, though, our garden started to take priority, and our baby girl started coming in with chicken poop all over her hands. I couldn't figure out how to let the chickens free range and still have a. anything left to eat in the garden b. any grass at all by the end of winter c. enough fencing to keep them in the yard. I write all this because we are planning to build a tall coop behind our garage, and while it will be big enough and we will keep it nice and clean, it seems sad to me that I won't even be able to see them from the house. Looking at these photos, it seems like the chickens just leave your garden alone - and don't even poop on the bench! Any secrets?

  3. your girls are so cute!
    p.s. where did you get your sandals?

  4. What a beautiful, diverse flock you have.

    Our chickens (we have 7) will dig the life out of any plant that isn't very, rootily established and are banned from the garden in all months except winter. Do you not have that problem?

  5. ok let me answer a few questions here.
    yes our girls do poop alot too. i have to squirt our back porch and patio off quite a bit. but i don't mind.
    also for the most part the hens do hang in their run which is an enclosed area off of the coop. when i do let them out i am nearby usually gardening or sitting on the back porch. when i see them head for the greens and such i just scoot them away.
    yes they can do quite a bit of damage to a garden by eating and scratching.
    but i like to let them out to get a bit more exercise and feel that a little bit of poop and a few nibbled leaves is worth it. if you do not have a large space for them to roam it can get tricky but i guess it is all about balance.
    0h and my sandals are salt waters:)

  6. We love our Ameraucanas! Such beautiful eggs...
    We have Plymouth Barred Rocks too - but I love your "Partridge" breed, just lovely. I think our Rhode Island Reds have been our most consistent & prolific layers throughout the year.

    Our girls turned 2 yrs old this spring and some don't lay every day... Did you just let your old flock die out naturally or did you re-home them...or eat them? We've lost a few to hawks (and we ate a couple of roosters), but I think we want to wait to get new chicks once our current flock has gone.

    Oh! And we tried having them in the garden but they dug everything up - including the strawberry plants!

  7. ours have their own separatet outdoor space to dust bathe and to scratch on the lawn. We have a large yard, and while I thought it would be romantically lovely to see them frisk about in the garden, it hasn't been practical!! So I love giving them their own space and as I value pastured eggs and don't feed them as much grain feed, it is a great balance. With the roo, he keeps them where they are supposed to stay and they only jump the fence when they want to lay.

    Occasionally they get into the garden, but they only come into the main yard when we can closely supervise them. The poop I don't care about (I know exactly what's in it, no disease pathogens, that is from battery hens and not back yard hens for the most part).

    I love my flock, 2 Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, 2 Easter Eggers, (often marketed as Americaunas, but not the recognized breeds...there are only 7 I think, but lay green eggs for us ) and 2 Black Australorps...oh, and the roo is a BLRW too :)