Once there was a pretty chicken...

Raising a few chickens can be rewarding. We do it. There are three laying hens, four
laying hens to be, and one rooster in our 'chicken palace', as we like to call it.
Our initial investment was small, since we've already had a suitable shed, for that purpose.
Nesting boxes were made of old wicker baskets, and wooden buckets, filled with hay.
Gallon sized, plastic milk bottles got easily transformed into drinking, water containers.
We feed our chickens with mixture of store bought, dry
food, and edible, vegetarian, kitchen scraps.
This seems to be a good arrangement for both parties; our trash cans are free of decomposing organic matter, attractive to rodents, pests, and other undesirables. Chickens get to enjoy, varied, and healthy diet. They reward us with freshest, prettiest eggs, and the 'by-product', excellent, organic manure that's great for
the soil, and plants. So, dear fellow gardener, if you've never tried it before, - perhaps this short note will attract you to do it, now?
A few additional notes:
(1)For more information on raising chickens, see PoultryOne, - excellent place to get you started.
(2)Chicken housing does not need to be fancy, but it must be dry, and sunny. It must also be predator free. Dry conditions keep hens healthy. It also means that manure dries fast. Dry manure is odourless, fly-free, and ready to go, and do wonders to your garden soil. More sunlight, simply means, more eggs. Chicken eggs may attract black snakes (they are not "bad guys" since they keep nasty cousins, such as copper snakes, away), and chickens themselves, do attract foxes, possums, coyotes, etc. Inspect your chicken home for possible ways of entry. Holes in the walls, need to be secured; 1/4 inch square wire mesh is good for this purpose (holes in so called chicken wire mesh, are big enough to let snakes through). Animals, such as foxes like digging underground tunnels, so if the chicken house sits directly on dirt, make 1 foot trench around it, and line it outwards with wire mesh, rocks,and finally dirt on top.
(3)We call edible kitchen scraps as "chicken salad". Fruit, and vegetable peels, get chopped, mixed with melon/other seeds, other greens, etc., and given to chickens, to "scratch, and choose".
(4)Dry (never wet) chicken manure is the richest one. Mixed into the soil, it will add nutrients, that attract, and feed microorganisms. As they do, they transform, and strengthen its structure.
It is also full of useful elements such as Nitrogen , Phosphorus, and Potassium, all essential, for healthy plant growth.
(5)If you, too, like a nice fresh egg for breakfast, see what you're getting, in A Few Egg Facts, Did You Know, and in TheDietChannel-Eggs Are Good For You.
Feedback - contact.tcg.now@gmail.com
Title above, is borrowed from a folk poem, also called Once there was a pretty chicken, from John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection.
Special Thanks
Special Thanks to Town & Country Gardens Contributors: blogger, bulabean, Dan65, dive-angel (Karin), flickr, Jasmine&Roses, Lyon College, Rita Crane Photography. Rita Crane, daughter of LIFE magazine photographer Ralph Crane. Her work can be seen on Flickr at Rita Crane Photography or on her website., TMRDavies, W.D. Williams, Wikipedia

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