Colorful California Landscape: A Water-Friendly Garden
Colorful California Landscape:  A Water-Friendly Garden

Raise Chickens

Tom Girolamo in his book, Your Eco-friendly Yard (Krause Publications, 2009) recommends raising chickens stating with a pair of laying hens which would provide you about a dozen eggs a week.  You wouldn't have to go to the store to buy eggs and the kids would actually get to see from where their food comes.  Chickens are jungle fowl, so they will eat anything you give them.  He feeds his everything, except chicken.  Chickens are the ultimate form of recycling.  Leftovers, stale bread, shrimp tails and vegetable peels get turned into eggs and great fertilizer.  It is not true that chickens are grain eaters.  His chickens prefer greens to grains in side-by-side tests every time.

The Chicken Garden

According to Sunset Magazine (April 2012), the chicken coop has already reached doghouse status in the West.  Now the trend is to build an entire garden around your feathery flock.  Seattle landscape designer Jessi Bloom led the charge with her book, Free-Range Chicken Gardens (Timber Press, 2012), a manifesto on the many ways to pamper your hens - with plants for foraging and shelter, rain-fed water bowls, and eco-friendly lawns.

Why Raise Chickens?

These are the most frequently expressed reasons people raise chickens (from

  • Easy and inexpensive to maintain (when compared to most other pets)
  • Eggs that are fresh, great tasting & nutritious
  • Chemical-free bug and weed control
  • Manufacture the worlds best fertilizer
  • Fun & friendly pets with personality

Determine if you can legally own / raise backyard chickens by researching local chicken laws & ordinances

There are a plethora of websites offering advice and products for raising chickens.  See the Resources page for links.

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Stewardship requires the recognition that we are all caretakers of the environment and economy for the benefit of present and future generations. We must balance the impacts of today's decisions with the needs of future generations. - The Minnesota Round Table on Sustainable Development (1998)