Shhh, the chickens are coming, Pt I – The Reasons.

Chickens, Summer

January 31, 2011

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I’ve been wanting to get chickens into the garden for some time now and the time has come to take some action. The reasons for getting chickens are many and before I launch into my series of posts on setting up and actually getting them, I’ll cover some of the reasons why you would want them in your backyard plot.

Firstly chickens add another layer of productivity to the garden. Permaculture maintains that the inclusion of animals in the productive space is necessary to create a more natural ecosystem. I’m not an obsessive permaculture fan but I do subscribe to their theory on the need to include livestock. Unfortunately I don’t have the space to include pigs and the like and living in a metropolitan area they can’t be included without Council approval, but chickens don’t take much space, and you can have several without needing to involve the bureaucracy.

Chickens can also be used for pest reduction in the garden. When a vegetable area has finished its productive spell at the end of the season, fence that area off (so the chickens don’t wreck the rest of the garden) and put the chickens in there to scratch over the soil and eat any remaining insect pests. In the process they’ll also fertilize the soil and start loosening up the soil as well. Your garden will benefit and the chickens will benefit from the extra insects in their diets. Just don’t forget to return them to their coop in the evening!

Initially when looking at getting chickens I was a little disappointed with the possible loss of vegetable scraps into the compost, as they would go to the chickens instead. Like all gardeners I love to be able to get my hands on as much compost as possible and anything that looks like it will reduce it tends to meet with resistance from me. However I think the opposite will be the case. I plan to use straw in the base of the coop and the pre-fertilized carbon rich material will add to the compost beautifully. My compost tends to be too nitrogen rich generally due to the grass clippings from the lawn, so adding the straw should balance it and bulk it out well.

My last reason for including chickens is that they add a beautiful ambiance to the garden. Which I think is reason enough.

Do you have any other thoughts? Reasons that I may have missed? Let me know by posting a comment below.

3 Responses to “Shhh, the chickens are coming, Pt I – The Reasons.”

  1. hazel says:

    I bet you left EGGS of the list of reasons just to get a comment. Rich fresh golden yolked googies. I luv em! The ambience factor is huge. They are so entertaining. I am lucky enough to keep a rooster too and it is fascinating to watch the flock dynamics. I am trying to merge some teenagers (about 7 weeks) raised from day olds into the flock at present. The hens can be spiteful but not as bad as I thought. Maybe the rooster is keeping them in check while he checks out his new concubines. LOL

  2. hazel says:

    By the way, I don’t wish to subscribe to your newsletter. However, I would like to follow the blog. If it was a blogspot blog, I could just click a button. Any ideas how I can do this?

  3. Matt says:

    Hi Hazel,

    Thanks for the comment. Can you believe it, I really did forget to put eggs in the post! Lovely fresh organic eggs. I’ll forget my head next.

    No worries about the newsletter, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. You could subscribe to the RSS feed ( Copy the link into your RSS reader, which many e-mail programs have these days. Or your can “like us” on Facebook ( or lastly try Twitter at



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