Once again I am renam­ing the small gar­den area on the side of the house.


Back when Winifred, our sweet Bel­gian Mali­nois, was still with us, we called it Winnie’s Poop Gar­den. It was not a place where you wanted to spend your free time.

Last year, des­per­ate for more veg­etable grow­ing space, I planted toma­toes and cucum­bers there and dubbed it the Other Veg­gie Garden.


This year, the Palazzo di Pollo and the aux­il­iary chicken coop, the Eglu, now reside in that area. And since I was divid­ing what seemed like hun­dreds of hostas this spring, I began trans­plant­ing them into the shaded area beside the coops. Nat­u­rally, I added more hostas as I fell in love with them dur­ing vis­its to gar­den cen­ters. I called it the Hosta Gar­den, but just as eas­ily could have called it the Slug Gar­den, since the slugs and snails moved in to par­take of the expan­sive hosta buffet—their fav.

Now that the baby chicks are old enough for some super­vised walk­a­bout time, I am call­ing this the Chicken Gar­den. This is where the big chick­ens and lit­tle chick­ens are cur­rently engaged in their nightly meet-and-greet lead­ing up to the merge of the two tribes.

Miss P adores the chickens. She would, in fact, love to eat the chickens. But being a smart cat, she understands they are off-limits and has ceased making predatory moves in their direction. It doesn't stop her from looking though.

Miss P adores the chick­ens. She would, in fact, love to eat the chick­ens. But being a smart cat, she under­stands they are off-limits and has ceased mak­ing preda­tory moves in their direc­tion. It doesn’t stop her from look­ing though.

You can­not just toss lit­tle chick­ens in with big chick­ens because they will be pecked on and could be injured. It is best for chick­ens to get to know each other a bit, work out their dif­fer­ences in rel­a­tive safety and begin estab­lish­ing the new peck­ing order prior to being thrust under the same roof. Using the Eglu as the tem­po­rary home for new chick­ens allows the chick­ens to see each other but not co-mingle until they are ready. This also allows us to ensure that the new chick­ens are dis­ease– and pest-free before intro­duc­ing them into the flock.

Now that the Pol­ish and Easter egg chick­ens are about 11 weeks old, it’s just a mat­ter of days before we attempt the big move. Until then, they peck and scratch in the Chicken Gar­den under close super­vi­sion.  After all, we don’t want a repeat of the inci­dent that took Johnny Cash.


I SWEAR I am still gar­den­ing. I have the pho­tos to prove it. More soon.


You can see the whole chicken photo album here. Click on the photo for a larger image. There are more pho­tos in the albums from the pho­tos sign at the top of this page.

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10 Responses to “Update from the Chicken Garden”

  1. Mr. McGregor's Daughter Says:

    The things I didn’t (and still don’t) know about chick­ens would fill vol­umes. This is all so fas­ci­nat­ing.
    You need to seek out slug resis­tant Hostas so you can look on them at the end of sum­mer and smile. There are lists, but the rule of thumb (lit­er­ally) is the touch test. You want the thick­est, tough­est leaves you can find. Most of the blue ones are fairly slug-resistant. Yes, I’m sug­gest­ing you rip out every­thing you just planted there & start over with bet­ter plants. Trust me, you’ll be hap­pier in the long run.

  2. MNGarden Says:

    I love their fully head-dress.

  3. MNGarden Says:

    I meant fluffy.

  4. Helen Yoest @ Gardening With Confidence Says:

    Hey Robin, I tagged you for a Meme award. Please visit my blog today. Helen P.S. it was kinda hard to do, but rewarding.

  5. Annie in Austin Says:

    Hi Robin,

    Hasn’t the slug pop­u­la­tion gone down since the crowned ones went on patrol? I thought most chick­ens ate and/or killed slugs and snails?

    Annie at the Trans­plantable Rose

  6. admin Says:

    Hi Annie,

    So many slugs, so lit­tle time!

    Actu­ally, the chick­ens may have eaten a good num­ber of slugs and snails, but the coop and hosta gar­den are right next to the woods. They just keep mul­ti­ply­ing. Add that to the fact that the chick­ens are only allowed out when I can super­vise them, which is only an hour or so a day, and it doesn’t really do the trick.

    MMG — I think I mes­saged you on Twit­ter that I’m going to take your advice on the hostas and rip out the var­ie­gated ones. I don’t like them anyway.


  7. Daffodil Planter Says:

    Great chicken/cat shot! Add a clever line and you’d have a won­der­ful greet­ing card.

  8. cityslipper (writing probems) Says:

    All this chicken activ­ity is fas­ci­nat­ing, though it looks to me as though Miss P is far more likely to end up as chicken food than the chick­ens are to end up as cat food.

  9. Painchaud Says:

    Man I can’t wait to get chick­ens. And that last chicken looks like it would beat up the cat if it tried anything.

  10. heather Says:

    My cats feel the same way about my indoor bird. They’d love to eat him despite the house­hold ban on eat­ing any­one who lives with us and has a name.

Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, is now available from Taunton Press. Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


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