Monday, October 14, 2013

FREE RANGE CHICKEN GARDENS BOOK REVIEW


Got this AWESOME new book recently and I've been loving it from cover to cover.

It is called Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard (a long title for a great subject), by author Jessi Bloom, who is herself an award winning garden designer.  She's combined her skills at garden design and love of chickens into what I think is a great resource of information with information for the novice and maybe some new tidbits for the long time chicken keeper.




The inside is filled with great chapters and has lots of diagrams, lists of do's and dont's, good and bad, and best of all, suggested layouts for a chicken yard.




It also has beautiful photography (by Kate Baldwin) that shows happy chickens and close up details of plants and coops and chicken yards that others have created.



It's divided up into sections such as Free Range Chickens, Natural Fertilizer, Organic Pest Control, Soil Aeration, Fresh Eggs, and Thriving Gardens.  There are also lists of dangerous plants for chickens, and even plants that make for great shade and healthy snacks for the egg laying ladies.  She also goes into chicken keeping basics, including coops and the best way to lay them out, fencing, safety, feed, care, egg laying, etc.  




This is what our future plans are for this area.  I've been slowly clearing this spot and keeping it mowed so that it just sort of stays clean and not overrun with weeds and brush and sprouting trees.

The barn will come next Spring (we are planning it now), and while we still won't have chickens right away, I can now use this book, and all the great online resources I've found, to start getting it all prepped ahead of time.  I've got a list of plants I'd like to find for next Spring to put in the future chicken yard so they can get established ahead of future residents.


13 comments:

Sue said...

Looks like a great read.....it's definitely going on my "must reads".

We had chickens many years ago---cheap entertainment and lots of laughs. It drove me batty sometimes when they got into my flower borders and threw mulch here, there, everywhere, but yet, they were so sweet and such good layers I just let them have their fun. They are GREAT at turning up compost piles. I had the best compost back then..........

Mary Ann said...

I gave away that book on our blog last month in a drawing... it's a good one, isn't it? I am finally letting our chickens from the henhouse near the garden out in the late afternoon now, and so far, I have not found that they have damaged things here at the end of the year. I hope to be able to do it next spring, too. We'll see what happens.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

the barn and coop are very exciting. i wish i could have chickens.

Practical Parsimony said...

Letting chickens and gardens co-exist sounds good, maybe only in theory. My two hens are so cute, scratching and pecking. Then, they discovered what looked like bare ground, only there were lily bulbs in there. They kicked bulbs ten or more feet behind them. I replanted the bulbs about six times. Those bulbs have not survived so far. They may rally yet. I learned a barrier worked to keep the bulbs in the ground and the chickens off them--oven racks/shelves. I may pick that up and see if she has more ideas. By the way, chickens don't dig up weed flowers, just the ones I want.

Your barn and chicken yard plans are exciting. I enjoy seeing things happen on your little farm.

1st Man said...

We enjoy 2nd Family's chickens every time we see them Fun to just watch 'do their thing', ha. I suppose a few inconveniences for the glory of the fresh eggs, LOL. We won't have chickens for a couple years, but I can start planning now. I never thought about compost, great idea.

1st Man said...

It's a great book. I like the way the book gives so many ideas for combing landscaping with chickens. 2nd Family (our only reference for chickens in person at the moment, ha) and they haven't had too much trouble either. Now their actual garden is fenced in so the chickens stay out of there. We'll do the same. Thanks for the giveaway reminder, I need to host another one it's been awhile.

1st Man said...

It is very exciting. We're deciding on barn styles now and then financing, you know, all that yucky stuff you have to do to be all grown up, ha. With all the wonderful things you cook, you'd need lots of chickens so you'd have lots of eggs. :-)

Kirk Dale said...

A book on chicken keeping for those with a garden?
I think I shall have to buy that as part of our new home glory box!
Kirk

1st Man said...

Ha, I can only imagine. I bet the bulbs made for great 'chicken toys', LOL. The book does have some good ideas. I think she takes several approaches, chickens with veggie gardens, chickens with kids, chickens with just a yard for them, etc. We want to take the approach of just making an actual chicken garden, just planting plants and things for them, not our own veggies. It would be fenced in so they would stay in their own yard. At least that's the plan, ha.

Thanks for your kind words. It's a long slow process be we are doing the best we can, slowly but surely! :-)

1st Man said...

Yes, that's the unique thing about the book. It tells you how to fence them in, what kinds of paths to put down, how to keep them with vegetable growing, or keep them just on their own in their own space, etc. We plan on creating a yard just for them exclusively. So I'll be able to keep them in their own area and let them do their thing, ha.

Practical Parsimony said...

The best idea I have seen is a box for greens with chicken wire or some kind of wire stapled over it. The chickens get on the box and can only eat the green plants as the plants come through the wire. That way, the chickens cannot scratch things out by the roots.

Just this week, they decided to help after the rock garden was cleaned of weeds by a weedeater, all around the edges. Now, there are nice holes of bare dirt...nice look. But, they are so cute, I just shake my head and let it go. They do share the yard with me.

1st Man said...

I saw that online once, I think I even saved some pictures in my folder for future reference, ha. Great idea. Thanks for the reminder I need to add that to planning, ha.

Sounds like you have fun with your 'girls'. We can't wait until that someday. :-)

Gammy Tammy said...

Oh wow! Thanks so much for posting about your new book. I've actually been scouring the internet for plants that you can grow that chickens won't devour. I'll have to add it to my wish list on Amazon. I haven't yet decided on a chicken run surrounding the veggie garden (chicken moat) or just a chicken yard.