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How To Add Herbs to the Coop

add herbs chicken coop
Fresh herbs and flowers dry along side mini-potatoes and garlic on vintage flower bulb drying trays.

Like most chicken keepers, I love spending time in the garden. Each year I plant and grow plenty of herbs for the family and the chickens.  In the summer, the girls enjoy nibbling on the fresh herbs. However, as the season begins to come to a close, we harvest what remains in the garden before the first frost. We then dry the herbs prior to future use. We use a few different techniques to dry the herbs and flowers based on their moisture content. Once dried, we use the herbs in cooking and also in the chicken coop!  Adding a sprinkle of dried chicken-safe herbs to the coop helps keep insects, mice, and parasites away. Plus I think it soothes the girls during their egg laying. To learn how to add herbs to the chicken coop read on.

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Sunday Herbfest

Each year I make it a point to plant Nasturtiums, a lovely entirely edible herb, near the chicken coop.  This year, I have had to plant them three times as other little critters beside the chickens have found them to be absolutely delicious.  The chickens love them.  I happen to think that they smell and taste like capers.  It never takes long for the girls to notice when I push the stalks up against the wire of the run. Oyster Cracker, my little piggy, always comes over first to take a nibble. Planting herbs for hens is a wonderful way to keep them happy when they can’t free range and also provide a nice source of shade from the summer sun.

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Top Ten Easiest Plants to Grow for Your Chickens

One of the things I love about living on Cape Cod is that it is full of avid gardeners.  In the Spring, those gardeners love to have plant sales.  I love going to them, because many of the plants you purchase come from other people’s backyards.  They are hardy, prolific and grow well in the areas where we live.  The plant sale that I look the most forward to is run each May by the Thornton Burgess Society.

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Easy DIY Raised Garden Beds

Two years ago, I was enlisted as the Project Coordinator for a new school yard garden project.  It was the first of its kind on school property and was started on a shoestring budget.  One way that we kept cost down was to build our own raised beds.  After scouring various gardening magazines and internet sites, I combined much of what I saw to form simple and easy gardening beds.  This project requires beginning woodworking skills.  Alone, it took me a just a morning to complete, including the time spent at Home Depot purchasing the supplies.

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Gardening with Chickens

I love seeing fluffy butts in the garden.

 

I started gardening on the East Coast nine years ago.  I had become incredibly passionate about gardening when living in California.  Southern California was such a magical place, practically everything that I put in the ground grew.  Plants thrived in Zone 10 under the Southern California sun.  However, moving to the East Coast, I was forced to start all over again.  My knowledge was based on Zone 10 plantings. Suddenly, I was faced by the new challenges of living in a place that truly has seasons, Zone 7A. It became even more apparent that once I added chickens to the garden, gardening with chickens was going to require me to step up my learning game too!

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Fresh Herb Garden for Chickens

 

 

Summer is almost upon us.  My daughter and I today took a trip to the local garden center to purchase more herbs for our herb garden and our chickens.  This year, we have decided to place the herb garden in the mulched beds around and near the chicken coop. We thought it was great idea to plant an herb garden for the chickens.

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Three Feathered Heroines

Three Silkie Bantams enjoy a breakfast of bugs

Termites were found in one of the new planting beds at my son’s school.  As we are practicing organic gardening techniques, it was only natural to think of the chickens to help eradicate these unwanted pests.  My friend who owns the farm in Cotuit arrived around 9:30am with a large wire dog crate and three Silkie Bantam chickens.

We stirred up the soil and then placed the cage inside the raised bed with the chickens inside.  We kept the chickens caged for their safety and to help them focus on the immediate task at hand.  Within seconds of being in the enclosure they got to work.  As they dined on their delicious breakfast of termites, students came outside to see the chickens busy at work.

While the chickens did their part, we planted strawberries, beets and potatos.  Ever so often, we lifted the cage and retilled the soil to unearth a fresh batch of termites.  Soon enough, the chickens were full.  Their crops became pendulous and we knew that they had done their job.  Next time, you have a problem in your garden, don’t forget about the skills of your chickens.  Mine even made their own resume sometime ago to remind me of their talents!

You can find more pictures in today’s copy of the Cape Cod Times on page A3.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest