Before planting the garden having Free Range Chickens wasn’t a big deal. They would quietly stroll around the yard uttering the occasional crow or cackle. They’d scratch and peck through the yard searching for tender grasses, bugs or seeds. Our flower beds are a mix of established Iris, Azaleas and rose bushes so they were in no danger of chicken assault. The tender flowers on the homestead are contained in large pots placed on the various decks that surround the house. We didn’t really need a garden fence.
Vegetable Garden Planting
The first garden produce we planted was cole crops. The chickens didn’t seem to notice. The next day we planted onion starts and again the chickens were oblivious. This all changed when the beets and carrots started to come up and then we planted tomatoes and peppers. It seems once the chickens discovered there were tasty treats in what was once a dead zone of leaves and mulch everything we’d planted was fair game. What they didn’t peck at they tried with all their might to uncover. This led to a week of confinement that I’m sure if chickens could blog would paint me as the villain.
(If you just want the Two Egg Sandwich recipe and not the story skip to the end)
My earliest memories as a child involve me standing in a chair at the stove with either my mother or grandmother cooking eggs for breakfast. While I don’t think I was making egg sandwiches back then I do think that early training prepared me to match opportunity with necessity when the time came.
I have had dogs all my life. When I was a kid I had a dog for as long as I can remember. At first they were my parents’ dogs and eventually I had a dog of my very own.
When I moved into my first apartment I went to a shelter and got a dog almost immediately. He was a little scruffy “Benji” type dog and he was always so excited to see me when I got home from work. Probably being locked in the apartment all day had something to do with that.
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We live in an area with an abundance of predators. We’ve had coyotes and bobcats as well as hawks and owls within 100 feet of the homestead. In addition, we have neighbor dogs that roam the area freely.
These factors are not favorable to letting our chickens free range at will. However, we do enjoy the benefits of letting them forage for their food when we can.
Before letting them out of the chicken yard to run free it is important that they know where home is. We raised these chickens from hatchlings but we still didn’t let them out the first day in the big coop. We made them stay in their yard for a few weeks until they consistently went to roost in the coop each evening.
I’m sure you’ve all done it. You’ve walked by the water troughs underneath heat lamps in your local farm store. You’ve heard the beckoning “Peep Peep Peep” from the unseen shadows inside. “What was that?” you wondered, “I’ll just take a peak.” And low and behold inside was a small hoard of the cutest, most vulnerable balls of fluffy ducks and chicks.