Gardening with Chickens by Lisa Steele should be your go-to reference for making your chickens work in your garden, and making your garden work for your chickens!
When we got our first flock of egg-layers several years ago, I knew three things: I wanted to raise them as naturally as possible, I wanted them to be happy and healthy, and… I didn’t know a lick about raising chickens.
The first six months we spent on our homestead was in winter, and it felt like forever until we could get baby chicks in the spring. I used that six months to learn all I could about raising laying hens successfully.
When the little fuzz balls finally arrived, it was like our homesteading adventures officially began! I remember the day we got our first egg: the excitement was almost unbelievable (if you’ve gotten a “first egg,” you definitely know what I mean!). It felt like we had finally arrived!
My favorite resource for learning all I needed to know about raising happy and healthy hens was Fresh Eggs Daily, a website and blog devoted to natural chicken care, written by Lisa Steele. Lisa is a 5th generation chicken keeper and aspires to bring back chicken-keeping methods that have been used for generations but are largely forgotten today. I looove this mission!
What I didn’t realize was that Lisa is also an avid gardener. In her new book, Gardening with Chickens: Plans and Plants for You and Your Hens, she shares strategies for keeping your plants safe from your inquisitive hens, how to put your chickens to work in your garden, and what things you can grow in your own backyard to support the health of your flock (and yourself).
Such a phenomenal idea for a book and a much needed resource- I couldn’t wait to read it!
I’d be willing to bet that people who want to raise chickens and collect the freshest, healthiest eggs possible are also the type of people who appreciate garden fresh veggies and beautiful flower beds. You can definitely have both, and Lisa will show you how to make everything work together in harmony with chickens.
Whether you have a large flock and a large gardening space, or a few hens in a small backyard, this book will teach you how to grow everything you need to enhance the health and happiness of your flock naturally.
This book is written for anyone and everyone- even if you’ve never gardened before, you can be confident that you could use the information in this book to grow something for your flock. I’ve been gardening and keeping chickens for years, and I also found the information in this book to be incredibly valuable.
What you’ll find in Gardening with Chickens by Lisa Steele
Lisa has thought of everything when it comes to gardening with chickens- I especially love that there is a section on landscaping your chicken run- an often overlooked space! There are also lots of pictures and illustrations to help you along.
Gardening + Chickens Basics
Gardening with Chickens starts with the basics: how to plan a garden including everything from selecting a site, to starting seedlings, and to how to create barriers to keep the chickens out (or in!). There is also information on creating a safe yard and grazing area for your chickens.
Next, Lisa goes into the different seasons of gardening and how to put your chickens to work in your gardens at different times of the year- she even has suggestions for breeds that tend to be gentler with plants!
This is a great basic gardening book with a wide variety of gardening topics ranging from things like crop rotation, butterfly gardens, building and growing in raised beds, plus container and straw bale gardening.
What to Grow for Your Flock
The how-to gardening sections were a nice refresher for me, but my favorite aspect of this book was the information on what to grow to benefit the health of your flock. This has always interested me, and is something I’ve wanted to do more of. I was already growing a portion of the things mentioned in the book, but now I would know just how to use them with my flock.
I’ve always thought of Lisa as the authority on herbs and flowers for chickens, and this book definitely shows it! She goes through the very basics of growing herbs, to the health benefits for both humans and fowl, plus how to harvest, preserve, and put the herbs to use.
There are many herbs that are easy to grow and are valuable for supplementing your chickens. Herbs that will help with things like egg production, yolk color, raising healthy baby chicks, improving chicken immune system health, natural wormers, and plants that can be used for first aid.
One portion of the book is also dedicated to which vegetables and other edibles to grow for your flock in both the spring and the fall. This is a nice way to reduce your feed bill and have healthy homegrown treats for your gals! Equally as important? Which things NOT to feed your chickens.
If you follow Lisa on social media, you’ve likely seen pictures of her nest boxes topped off with a confetti of herbs and flowers that both freshen the coop and provide health benefits to the chickens. I’m always so envious when I see these beautiful, colorful nest boxes! This is one of the first things I’m going to put into practice this coming growing season. The recommendations for which edible flowers and fresh herbs to grow in order to encourage laying, repel pests, and freshen up the nesting area are so valuable. Our gals have given us eggs for three years now- they certainly deserve it!
It may seem silly to some people to go to such lengths for a chicken, but I think growing things yourself that will benefit your flock is a wonderful endeavor! I love knowing where our food comes from, and I love feeling more empowered to improve the health of our flock with the knowledge in this book.
Chickens are an important part of our homestead: the fresh eggs and manure are certainly worth it! But perhaps what I like best about keeping chickens is the entertainment and companionship that they offer- they really are smart birds full of personality. They bring our homestead to life! Our chickens are so precious to me and I want them to have the best and healthiest life possible, and it seems growing herbs and flowers just for them goes a long way in helping with that goal. This benefits our health as well. Healthy chickens lay nutrient-rich eggs, which nourish us in return.
Gardening with Chickens really covers it all when it comes to making your garden work for your chickens and your chickens work for your garden. If you like to grow things and you have any interest in natural chicken keeping, there’s no doubt you’ll love this creative and informative book written by a Master Gardener and chicken keeping authority!
You can find Gardening with Chickens —> HERE!
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