am scared to get chickens. Just plain chicken about it. There are so many reasons to do it: the eggs, the other valuable asset which they produce and which makes an excellent addition to your compost pile, and the fact that they eat insects all the live long day... but I can't pull the trigger.
According to The Prairie Farmer, there are in fact eight ways to use chickens in the garden. I am quite sure I lack the patience to employ five pound, armless poultry as compost pile turners or mulch spreaders, but that blog post is otherwise very inspiring.
So why haven't I gotten chickens? Why am I shamelessly stealing all of these bucolic photos from a google search? (BTW, I linked the photos to their sites. Sites manned by brave people who actually have chickens in their gardens.) And I am talking about an imaginary situation in which I don't have a dog who would make quick work of them and I don't run a small business, so in this whimsical scenario I would have the time and the hospitable atmosphere to welcome them and care for them...
But I don't think I would get them. Chickens would destroy my garden. If you look closely at the photo above, every plant has, guess what, chicken wire around it. That photo was lifted from another good blog entry from The Modern Farmer,and the topic of the blog entry is how to prepare for them, as if they were only somewhat welcomed but wild grandchildren. The title is 'How to Chicken-Proof Your Garden'.
Containment is a possibility and to the right is an charming example. I guess the strategy here is that they destroy only the allotted real estate, and then you move their accommodations to another part of the yard, which they can subsequently destroy. But this is an adorable contraption, found on Pinterest from BackyardChickens.com. I would paint it that Monet bridge green, I think and treat my pets to some attractive (but mobile) urns to hide the wheels.
But I end this post by coming to grips with the sad truth that I feel the same way about chickens in my gardens that I do about those wonderful glass cloches.