Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year, New Plans

Yes, yes. I know. Just yesterday I was saying how it's probably best that I don't know what this year has in store for me. But that was yesterday. Today I feel the urge to make plans. I was outside earlier, adding a top dressing of garlic powder to the girls' feed (another attempt to cure Doris and prevent any further sniffles), and found myself looking about the winter battered garden. Last year, we were planning on moving, so the garden was a bit neglected. This year, I plan to get stuck in.

Anyone who keeps hens will tell you that they are not very kind to your gardening ambitions. What they don't eat they tend to stomp on. There are three solutions to this problem. Firstly, you can just give up and let the chooks totally take over your garden. This is only really an option if a) you don't care that there will be a stinky quagmire outside your back door and that b) neither will your neighbours. It is extremely unlikely that b) will occur. The second solution involves giving up a portion of your garden as a chicken-only domain. Personally, I tend to think that unless you have acreage, this just condenses the problem highlighted in the first solution. Plus, I actually enjoy seeing the hens roaming about the place. From a certain angle and with a certain set of rose tinted specs, it can look lovely and romantic. You just have to ignore the trails of destruction.

This year I am going to attempt the third option. The plan is to plant the garden with hen resilient plants. I believe that I have mentioned this in a previous post, but now is the time for action. From now on, when I visit a garden centre of plant nursery, I will be focused. No more wistfully wandering amongst the pretty perennials for me. From now on my botanical hunting ground will be amongst the hardy and rugged. Woody shrubs are possibly the way forward. I am contemplating a low lavender and rosemary border around the Palace. I may even build raised beds and tightly pack them with plants to prevent the inevitable dustbathing. In short, right now I have many ideas. We shall see how they pan out over the next few months. I fully expect the girls to test these new arrangements to the limit.

If anyone's had success with chicken landscaping, please let me know.


  1. I keep my girls on concrete bark and straw for a the whole of winter and then they come out to run in the raised beds since the rest of our garden is concrete. Concrete is a good thing but it very ugly :( Hopefully you have better luck with plants :)

  2. Keep us updated as I have also decided to do a garden(s) this year. My flock has the run of the whole back yard & I've been thinking raised beds with roll out fencing around them.

  3. I'm hoping to carry on growing veg, but the chooks might have other ideas. :D