Sep 19, 2014

Landscape Gardening with Chickens

Landscape gardening with backyard chickens. www.The-Chicken-Chick.com
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have flowers and plants beautifying the chicken yard. I know this from experience as I have been landscaping my chicken yard for years. My credentials? Thank you for asking. I am a fifth generation brown thumb gardener and homicidal horticulturist with a keen eye for the obvious and a fervent desire to outwit my chickens. If I can landscape my chicken yard absent any knowledge of proper landscaping or gardening practices- anyone can!  I offer the following examples of gardening methods that have worked with my flock, but all are subject to being disproved by any given chicken at any time. 
 Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have flowers and plants adorning the chicken yard. I offer the following examples of gardening methods that have worked for me, but all are subject to being disproved by any given chicken at any time.
Scientists don’t know much about the types and doses of plant toxins that affect free-range chickens. Fortunately, plant poisonings are very rare occurrences in chicken flocks, perhaps because chickens possess some instinctive nutritional wisdom. If they have a choice, they’ll reject a food that tastes funny to them.
The first question I am always asked when discussing gardening in the chicken yard is, “which plants are toxic to chickens?” The short answer to that question is: I don’t worry about it.  Seriously. I do not select plants or flowers based on concerns about toxicity. Esteemed poultry expert Gail Damerow summed up the reason I don’t worry about it best in The Chicken Encyclopedia: “Whether or not a specific plant is toxic may vary with its stage of maturity, growing conditions (such as drought), and other environmental factors. Should a chicken get a potentially toxic dose, the outcome will depend on the bird’s age and state of health. Since chickens peck a little here and a little there to get variety in their diet, a bite or two of a toxic leaf or seed is unlikely to create a problem. Most toxic plants don’t taste good anyway and therefore are not tempting except to a chicken that has few other food choices. A house chicken, for instance, may be tempted to eat toxic houseplants of no other greens are available.” 
Scientists don’t know much about the types and doses of plant toxins that affect free-range chickens. Fortunately, plant poisonings are very rare occurrences in chicken flocks, perhaps because chickens possess some instinctive nutritional wisdom. If they have a choice, they’ll reject a food that tastes funny to them.
Damerow’s position is supported by poultry veterinarian Julie Gauthier:  “...cases of chickens being poisoned by...yard plants are uncommon...Many types of plants make noxious substances that discourage herbivores from eating them into extinction. In large enough doses, these natural plant-eater deterrents can have toxic effects on your flock. Much of what scientists think they know about toxic plants for poultry is borrowed from reports of human, livestock, and pet toxicities, but in reality, they’re mostly guessing. Scientists don’t know much about the types and doses of plant toxins that affect free-range chickens. Fortunately, plant poisonings are very rare occurrences in chicken flocks, perhaps because chickens possess some instinctive nutritional wisdom. If they have a choice, they’ll reject a food that tastes funny to them.” 
Scientists don’t know much about the types and doses of plant toxins that affect free-range chickens. Fortunately, plant poisonings are very rare occurrences in chicken flocks, perhaps because chickens possess some instinctive nutritional wisdom. If they have a choice, they’ll reject a food that tastes funny to them.
If you will be unable to sleep at night unless you know with certainty that you do not have any corn-cockle growing in your chicken yard, please see The Chicken Encylopedia for Common Potentially Toxic Plants.
I add landscape elements for us to enjoy, but if the chickens eat some of them, I don’t get worked up about it. There would not have been any plants or flowers in that area but for the chickens anyway.
PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY
Before we began keeping chickens, our backyard was a hilly, wet, clay-ridden, mosquito infested space that we never used, so when the chickens arrived and eradicated the mosquito problem, the chicken yard became a space we could enjoy. I add landscape elements for us to enjoy, but if the chickens eat some of them, I don’t get worked up about it. There would not have been any plants or flowers in that area but for the chickens anyway.
when the chickens arrived and eradicated the mosquito problem, the chicken yard became a space we could enjoy. I add landscape elements for us to enjoy, but if the chickens eat some of them, I don’t get worked up about it. There would not have been any plants or flowers in that area but for the chickens anyway.
TRIAL & ERROR 
The only way to know which plants and flowers are going to work in any given chicken yard is to experiment with different varieties. Trying to predict which plants or flowers your chickens might eat is completely pointless. Things my chickens eat, sit on, dig up or trample, others' chickens may not. Things my chickens ignored last year may be this year’s favorite salad bar topping. There's just no predicting how landscaping will go from year to year with chickens.
Trying to predict which plants or flowers your chickens might eat is completely pointless. Things my chickens eat, sit on, dig up or trample, others' chickens may not. Things my chickens ignored last year may be this year’s favorite salad bar topping. There's just no predicting how landscaping will go from year to year with chickens.
Hostas are a good example- some years my chickens eat them like potato chips, other years, they don't touch them. There's no rhyme or reason to when or which varieties they will munch on, but they’re perennials, so I don’t worry about it- they’ll grow back next year.
Hostas are a good example- some years my chickens eat them like potato chips, other years, they don't touch them. There's no rhyme or reason to when or which varieties they will munch on, but they’re perennials, so I don’t worry about it- they’ll grow back next year.
Baby Steps: I don’t buy ten flats of something hoping that the chickens will leave it alone. I buy a few, see how it goes and if they’re still alive in a few weeks, I’ll plant more at that time.
Baby Steps: I don’t buy ten flats of something hoping that the chickens will leave it alone. I buy a few, see how it goes and if they’re still alive in a few weeks, I’ll plant more at that time.
PLANT SELECTION
Local garden centers, farms and nurseries carry plants that perform well in the growing zone they are located in, so I shop for my plants and flowers locally. Being a bargain hunter, I love shopping for perennials at the end of summer when prices are greatly reduced and the plants, nearly dead. I plant them immediately, knowing that they’ll be back next spring.
Local garden centers, farms and nurseries carry plants that perform well in the growing zone they are located in, so I shop for my plants and flowers locally. Being a bargain hunter, I love shopping for perennials at the end of summer when prices are greatly reduced and the plants, nearly dead. I plant them immediately, knowing that they’ll be back next spring.
I have had excellent luck with mint, vinca vines, sweet potato plants, ornamental grasses and spikes. For the most part, the chickens do not eat them and they are difficult to trample to death.
I have had excellent luck with mint, vinca vines, sweet potato plants, ornamental grasses and spikes. For the most part, the chickens do not eat them and they are difficult to trample to death.
FOCUS ON HARD-TO-KILL VARIETIES
Without question my favorite plants for durability, hardiness, rate of growth, texture, color, shape and being generally chicken-proof are ornamental grasses. There is nothing my chickens or I have ever been able to kill them. They grow like weeds and provide color, texture, shade and interest to the chicken yard all year long. I hack them down to the ground every spring and they return in their full glory in no time. When the bases get too wide, we divide it with an ax. They require no attention, no water and a moderate amount of sunlight. The chickens can dig to China at the root balls yet they thrive. THAT is MY kind of plant!
Without question my favorite plants for durability, hardiness, rate of growth, texture, color, shape and being generally chicken-proof are ornamental grasses. There is nothing my chickens or I have ever been able to kill them. They grow like weeds and provide color, texture, shade and interest to the chicken yard all year long. I hack them down to the ground every spring and they return in their full glory in no time. When the bases get too wide, we divide it with an ax. They require no attention, no water and a minimum of sunlight. The chickens can dig to China at the root balls yet they thrive. THAT is MY kind of plant!
Miscanthus sinensis, "Morning light"
Kate (Speckled Sussex) "helping" Mr. Chicken Chick divide
one of the ornamental grasses in the springtime.
Kate (Speckled Sussex) "helping" Mr. Chicken Chick divide one of the ornamental grasses in the sprintime.
Ornamental grasses lend beautiful texture, color and
movement to the backyard in the dead of winter. 
Ornamental grasses lend beautiful texture, color and movement to the backyard in the dead of winter.
Ornamental grasses lend beautiful texture, color and movement to the backyard in the dead of winter.
Without question my favorite plants for durability, hardiness, rate of growth, texture, color, shape and being generally chicken-proof are ornamental grasses. There is nothing my chickens or I have ever been able to kill them. They grow like weeds and provide color, texture, shade and interest to the chicken yard all year long. I hack them down to the ground every spring and they return in their full glory in no time. When the bases get too wide, we divide it with an ax. They require no attention, no water and a minimum of sunlight. The chickens can dig to China at the root balls yet they thrive. THAT is MY kind of plant!
USE CONTAINERS
Wherever possible, use container plantings in the chicken yard. Things planted in the ground are enormously tempting to dig up, but it's a little less convenient for chickens to uproot a potted plant- not impossible, just less convenient. I get a kick out of using creative containers in the chicken yard. The higher up I plant things, the less likely they are to be destroyed by my feathered wrecking crew.

CHAIR doubles as a roost in the dead of winter.
CHAIR doubles as a roost in the dead of winter.
CHAIR doubles as a roost in the dead of winter.
Roof top planter, DIY instructions HERE.
Roof top planter
Watering can.
Watering can.
Galvanized tubs.
Galvanized tubs.
Upcycled Ladder Planter, DIY instructions HERE.
Upcycled Ladder Planter
Upcycled Tool Box.
Upcycled Tool Box.
Upcycled Tool Box.
EXPECT ROOSTING: Adding elements such as spikes or non-living adornments such as twigs discourages chickens from standing in or on the surrounding plants. The most determined bird will roost in or on the containers. Just accept defeat.
EXPECT ROOSTING: Adding elements such as spikes or non-living adornments such as twigs discourages chickens from standing in or on the surrounding plants. The most determined bird will roost in or on the containers. Just accept defeat.
EXPECT ROOSTING: Adding elements such as spikes or non-living adornments such as twigs discourages chickens from standing in or on the surrounding plants. The most determined bird will roost in or on the containers. Just accept defeat.
I have never met a chicken that did not love eating vermiculite and perlite. They will dig up the plant if they can see the little white specks, so I make a point of covering potting soil with vermiculite-free soil, leaves or mulch.
HIDE THE PERLITE/VERMICULITE
I have never met a chicken that did not love eating vermiculite and perlite. They will dig up the plant if they can see the little white specks, so I make a point of covering potting soil with vermiculite-free soil, leaves or mulch.
Invariably the flock will want to ‘help’ with planting. It’s not that they are hoping to kill the plants immediately as much as it is that they appreciate someone priming the ground for a worm hunting expedition. I find it helpful to distract them by digging up some areas of soil away from where I’m planting to encourage them to occupy themselves elsewhere.
DISTRACTION
Invariably the flock will want to ‘help’ with planting. It’s not that they are hoping to kill the plants immediately as much as it is that they appreciate someone priming the ground for a worm hunting expedition. I find it helpful to distract them by digging up some areas of soil away from where I’m planting to encourage them to occupy themselves elsewhere.
Sometimes it works, sometimes...not so much. 
Freshly disturbed earth is very enticing to chickens and nothing is quite as upsetting as finding that the flock has uprooted a plant that I just planted. To deter unwanted excavation, I surround new plantings with pavers or rocks to give them a fighting chance. Works like a charm!
HARDSCAPING
Freshly disturbed earth is very enticing to chickens and nothing is quite as upsetting as finding that the flock has uprooted a plant that I just planted. To deter unwanted excavation, I surround new plantings with pavers or rocks to give them a fighting chance. Works like a charm!
Freshly disturbed earth is very enticing to chickens and nothing is quite as upsetting as finding that the flock has uprooted a plant that I just planted. To deter unwanted excavation, I surround new plantings with pavers or rocks to give them a fighting chance. Works like a charm!
Freshly disturbed earth is very enticing to chickens and nothing is quite as upsetting as finding that the flock has uprooted a plant that I just planted. To deter unwanted excavation, I surround new plantings with pavers or rocks to give them a fighting chance. Works like a charm!
There are some areas in my chicken yard that I do not want redecorated for me. While we have mulch as far as the eye can see behind the chicken coops, invariably, my chickens would rather forage and dust bathe in the mulch adjacent to the grass, kicking it onto the grass. To deter this behavior and limit the amount of mulch I have to rake up and relocate nightly, I buried hardware cloth shallowly underneath the mulch in a few, select areas. I bend the edges of the wire down, which anchors it into the ground a bit and ensures that no sharp edges are exposed.
PRESERVATION
There are some areas in my chicken yard that I do not want redecorated for me. While we have mulch as far as the eye can see behind the chicken coops, invariably, my chickens would rather forage and dust bathe in the mulch adjacent to the grass, kicking it onto the grass. To deter this behavior and limit the amount of mulch I have to rake up and relocate nightly, I buried hardware cloth shallowly underneath the mulch in a few, select areas. I bend the edges of the wire down, which anchors it into the ground a bit and ensures that no sharp edges are exposed.
I am often asked how my lawn remains lush in the face of 40 some marauding chickens. I really don’t know for sure. I do know that throwing scratch or other treats onto the lawn is begging to have them tear it up. Do not toss treats out onto the grass- it only serves to encourage endless scratching.
A FEW THOUGHTS ABOUT THE LAWN
I am often asked how my lawn remains lush in the face of 40 some marauding chickens. I really don’t know for sure. I do know that throwing scratch or other treats onto the lawn is begging to have them tear it up. Do not toss treats out onto the grass- it only serves to encourage endless scratching.
I am often asked how my lawn remains lush in the face of 40 some marauding chickens. I really don’t know for sure. I do know that throwing scratch or other treats onto the lawn is begging to have them tear it up. Do not toss treats out onto the grass- it only serves to encourage endless scratching.
It is possible to repair damaged areas of the lawn without re-seeding it or banishing the chickens to Siberia for the duration. The key is keeping the chickens off the nekked spots to allow the grass to re-grow. To do that, I toss a piece of chicken wire or hardware cloth on top of the bare spot and let it grow tall before removing the wire.
It is possible to repair damaged areas of the lawn without re-seeding it or banishing the chickens to Siberia for the duration. The key is keeping the chickens off the nekked spots to allow the grass to re-grow. To do that, I toss a piece of chicken wire or hardware cloth on top of the bare spot and let it grow tall before removing the wire.
When all else fails, use non-living items to add color and interest to the chicken yard. Hay bales, watering cans, galvanized steel pieces, a wagon wheels, park bench, rusty cultivator...the possibilities are endless.
When all else fails, use non-living items to add color and interest to the chicken yard. Hay bales, watering cans, galvanized steel pieces, a wagon wheels, park bench, rusty cultivator...the possibilities are endless.
 Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have flowers and plants adorning the chicken yard. I offer the following examples of gardening methods that have worked for me, but all are subject to being disproved by any given chicken at any time.

Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®

901 comments :

  1. So funny you should write this blog today. I am about finished with my new chicken house (my husband calls it the Taj Mahal). I was just thinking last night, What can I plant around their house that will be safe for them? You answered all my questions! Thanks so much!

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  2. I would love to win the 'Grandpa's feeder' mentioned on your page! I love all your articles :)

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  3. I would love this feeder so much. We found our first signs of rodents in our coop and it worries me.

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  4. Barbara Bogan Bealer9/19/14, 11:14 AM

    Enjoying all the ideas of gardening w/chickens. Surely would love to win Grandpa's Feeder!

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  5. Lovely pictures. Your yard is beautiful. Love the chance to win this great feeder.

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  6. Tracy Harden9/19/14, 11:18 AM

    So timely!
    I'm finally getting to plant a new flowerbed in the backyard, so we"ll see how it goes. Everything I'm planting now are perennials, mostly from pots that have been sitting in the yard since I transplanted them from our old house. I picked up some plastic garden fencing to put around it after it's planted to (hopefully) keep them out.

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  7. Lori Thomson Hohl9/19/14, 11:20 AM

    I would love this feeder!

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  8. Right on! I'd love to see it when you're finished.

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  9. Such fun landscaping ideas. I have a bench where a couple slats have come off that I could put out in the chicken yard. They'd love the roosting space (=
    Thanks for this giveaway!

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  10. Great article about landscaping for chickens. I hope to win the feeder!

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  11. omg I love love love this. My dream chicken yard is to have one like yours. Seriously, I'm not joking or trying to flatter you - your yard is gorgeous and I have a serious black thumb when it comes to gardening. Ask my husband or my sister. I kill things - unintentionally, but there you have it :( I will have to enlist the aid of my uber-green thumbed mother to help me do this in the spring because I want a happy habitat for my chookies to roam free in :) ...although, I need fencing so that they don't roam into the woods behind the house...we have too many predators in this area (fox, coyote, fisher cat, and even the occasional bear).


    And the Grampa's Feeder is a great idea - anything to save money on feed is always a great idea! Obviously would love to win this! Good luck to all the entrants! :)

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  12. I plant a lot of herbs for my ladies !

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  13. oh boy- another prize. hope I win

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  14. Great article...wish I had more time to garden. Yours is beautiful!

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  15. Gale Lanning Conner9/19/14, 11:43 AM

    Thanks for all the advice and the chance to win!!

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  16. Such great ideas. I have completely fenced off the vegetable garden from my girls. I gave up on flowers long ago. Wasn't worth the headaches of fighting off chickens or the Arizona heat.

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  17. Planning for next year... thanks for the article!

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  18. Lesley Alstrand9/19/14, 11:49 AM

    Thanks for the common sense info about "poisonous" plants. My girls think my morning glory blooms are candy. I keep the lower part of the vine free of blooms , and patrol the area to pick up dropped blooms. I was about ready to cut down the vine! Nice to know I can relax.

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  19. Oh, how I would LOVE to have a Grandpa's Feeder for my flock!!!! I am slowly but surely starting to landscape around my coop. I'm gonna try some of your tips. Wish me luck!!!

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  20. Kathy J. McNiel9/19/14, 11:55 AM

    One of these days, you'll pick me :-) Thanks for another great giveaway - my girls & I would love this!

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  21. I need this feeder!

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  22. Trying again. Oh, and I just smacked my head because I only now noticed that your website background is made with eggs! I guess I never paid that much attention to the sides before, just the content. :)

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  23. I love this blog post! I have experienced much of what you write about with chickens and gardens and come to pretty much the same conclusions. I use to have an extensive Hosta collection and the first three years they were fine and then all of sudden every plant became the best tasting food. We have Hosta stems now. I have learned to adapt rather then exclude the chickens from my gardens. And I was ready for a change.

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  24. I agree so much with the statement about them being interested in something one year and not the next. Any time they get distructive I find a bit of hardware cloth on the site solves the issue. And anything I want to protect, a simple 9" high fence works great.

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  25. Would love to win! Going to build our first coop this weekend!

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  26. Great article and tips on landscaping. I had been avoiding grasses BUT am now off to plant a few different types. It is a great idea in my hot arid (generally) area and having grasses would be a great for the girls to enjoy. I can't wait to see what I can do with what I already have!!! Thanks again for all you do. Please enter me in the Grandpa's feeder give-away.

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  27. Patricia Morgan9/19/14, 12:10 PM

    I'm planning on some chicken landscaping this fall / winter. Before the chicks, I couldn't have cared less that the back yard was ugly. Now I want my lovely chickens to have a space as lovely as they are to live in!

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  28. I'm just starting to let my 5 month old chickens out of the run, a couple at a time. I can't really free range them in my yard all the time, but they will be let out more and more as they get older. I'm hoping they help get rid of unwanted weeds.

    I would love to win the feeder.

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  29. Great suggestions, I appreciate your insights..

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  30. My chickens would love this feeder! They just use a black tub! Great Flowers!

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  31. Kecia Kim Stewart9/19/14, 12:20 PM

    That's a cool feeder - would love to have that. Love this article on the landscaping for chickens. I'm a plant/flower freak and hope to make the area a little more beautiful each year. Chickens and flowers - a beautiful sight!

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  32. I have always wanted one of these! Your articles are So helpful and I love them ALL but this one about gardening is BY FAR my FAVORITE! Thanks!

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  33. Love the article and it gave me some new ideas

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  34. Love your blog! Landscaping with chickens is so possible! I usually surround my flowers with rocks so the chickies can't dig them up.
    Just planted about 7 mums and they haven't messed with them yet!
    Need that feeder! 12 chickens and 3 babies scheduled to hatch in 4 days, would be perfect!

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  35. Great article! My chickens have to be separated from our garden areas since they do love to dig in the dirt and mulch. Plus they have torn up large areas of our lawn, so we're looking for ways to keep them free but still protect our plants and grass. It's very challenging.

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  36. would love to win

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  37. We just got our new baby chicks this week, and I was searching the internet to find items to potentially plant around the coop. Great article! :-)

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  38. I really like this post! I am a landscape designer and hope one day to have a client with chickens who wants landscaping for them!

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  39. Thanks so much i think I may be brave enough to plant more now.

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  40. Would love to own this feeder! Amazing how I was wanting to learn about gardening with chickens and to my surprise that was what your blog was about today!! Thank you for the advice!

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  41. Cher Shipman9/19/14, 12:34 PM

    Great tips! Thanks! and here's a tip for you: create an enticing dust bath area where it is easy to add ash, sand, and even Sevin to prevent mites. Helps keep the rest of the garden intact :)

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  42. Love your yard....only 7 chickens caused my mulch loving husband to go crazy...Will have to re think some of our hardscaping!
    Would love the giveaway! my girls would be so excited!

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  43. looks amazing!!!

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  44. I need to plant something.

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  45. I've planted mint, but want to do more soon. They've picked the mint clean, but hoping it will come back next year and SPREAD everywhere. Trying to tame smells and flies. I've totally had my eye on these feeders. Thanks for offering the giveaway!

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  46. Thank you for the gardening information!

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  47. Love this article! Thanks!!!

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  48. My great-grandparents had true my free range chickens. They did not have a co-op. The chickens rooster in the barn at night and to get eggs you had to hunt for them. They didn't. have plants other than vegetables, and fruits, and very little grass. When I asked, I was told it was useless to plant anything else, because the chickens would eat it or dig it up, and they were too old to battle with the chickens. The one place I never seen the chickens go into, was the hog pen. They went into every other place on the farm. They would have loved the feeder. It would have been one less daily chore.

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  49. Jane Andrew Christie9/19/14, 1:02 PM

    I LOVE your blog & the info you share with us! Sure wish I could "few range" my girls but, I'm in the city and it's against the law! However I continue
    to work on my coop and decorate with flowers & metal "Art" and plan to enlarge my coop & run next Spring!

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  50. Absolutely love your yard with the gardens and the chicken coops! Ok so I'm admitting the feeder giveaway is pretty cool too and I'd it.

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  51. Crystal Clark9/19/14, 1:09 PM

    Great article.. would love to win a prize!

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  52. this is perfect timing! can't wait to get planting!

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  53. I love this article! I've been wondering if it would be a waste of time to plant ornamentals in the coop! Glad to know it's not a lost cause. Thanks for the giveaway as well!

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  54. I have a question, but didn't know how to contact you. I have 5 chickens,lost one sadly. How ever I got them in March and it's Sept. now shouldn't they have already started laying or do I have another month or so to go. 3 are reds and 3 are leghorns. This isn't my first set of chickens. My previous ones had stopped laying, then met a horrible end.

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  55. Quackydoodle9/19/14, 1:28 PM

    I just increased my flock to 25 birds. I don't think my little hanging feeder is going to cut it anymore, ha ha.

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  56. Do you have any tips for protecting vegetable beds?

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  57. Michele Moore9/19/14, 1:36 PM

    So many great ideas! Thank you.

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  58. Carol Morgan Doan9/19/14, 1:41 PM

    Grandpas Feeder would be a godsend! The girls would not have to worry about mama sleeping in any more!

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  59. I am getting back into chickens next spring, would love this feeder!

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  60. I love your articles! It's so encouraging for me to be able to see what you've done or are doing to help maintain a healthy flock <3 Thank you!!

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  61. Donna Endicott Linnane9/19/14, 1:45 PM

    Sounds like a "good-to-have"!

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  62. Patricia Damuth Shelton9/19/14, 1:50 PM

    I love the information about the chickens. I have experimented with various flowers also. I have found a few things that they wouldn't mess with but one thing I thought they wouldn't eat once I moved the flower pot they devoured it. I guess it is location location location.

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  63. I noticed they didn't like the rosemary this year, that was nice! Awesome article, thank you Kathy!
    Have you hugged your chicken today? ? ;-)

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  64. Will send pictures soon - won't be as pretty as the ones you have, but I think my girls are really going to enjoy it!

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  65. Kerry Anderson9/19/14, 1:57 PM

    Oh I want one of these!!! Great article by the way. I refer to my landscaping as "survival of the fittest"... you have to earn a place in my yard..lol

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  66. Pamela Allen Mineo9/19/14, 2:21 PM

    We recently got some chickens. First some silkies, now some Americauna's (for real eggs) and a couple of Serama's. I am really looking forward to getting a 'chicken' garden' going.

    Your website is awesome and addicting! Thanks for the colorful photos and wonderful information.

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  67. Ooohhh i hope i win!!

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  68. Tammy Eyler9/19/14, 2:43 PM

    LOVE this!

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  69. It always takes me longer to find where to post than to read the article! Sure could use that feeder. Me and my girls (and Buster) would be happier and I would not be feeding the whole bird nation.

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  70. Very helpful info, thanks again! I need the feeder since the one my husband made doesn't seem to be working very well!

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  71. Totally awesome article. I've been wondering what I could plant that wouldn't be toxic, and now I understand that I really don't need to worry about that. GREAT pointers!! And winning the Grandpa's Feeder would be fabulous as well. One of my hens is a really biller and messmaker.

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  72. Thanks for continuing to bring forward great prizes and great chicken info :)

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  73. What great ideas! Is there anything specific you plant for the chickens to eat?

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  74. Laura Gutknecht9/19/14, 2:51 PM

    I would love the feeder. Great article about gardening with chickens. I have worked to keep mine out of my veggie garden.

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  75. Amy Bartlett9/19/14, 2:55 PM

    Now I want to go plant some flowers! Beautiful. Might just try the run roof planter...next year...since the snow is about to fall.

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  76. Rachael Lewandowski9/19/14, 3:00 PM

    I absolutely love your chicken yard. My problem is that my areas of mulch are only about 3 feet wide so when the chickens get in to scratch it gets all over the yard. I felt like I spent most of the day yelling at the chickens, who thought I was crazy. I bought deer netting, laid it on top of the mulch and then used landscaping staples to hold it down. It becomes invisible but the mulch stays. The chickens can't scratch it up. I just feel back bc I know they love mulch so next year I will be adding a large area of mulch under the trees where they like to dustbathe anyway and there is no longer any grass. Thank you for the great ideas and the chance to win some great prizes.

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  77. I would love one!

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  78. love the ladder and the rocker planters

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  79. Thank you for the great landscaping tips. I will start experimenting soon, as they have enjoyed the salad bar I called my hosta garden, LOL!

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  80. Thanks for the great giveaway, once again :)

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  81. Thanks Katie. I don't plant anything in particular for them to eat.

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  82. Brenda French9/19/14, 3:26 PM

    Good to know! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  83. Carolyn Domingue Heineken9/19/14, 3:34 PM

    Great article

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  84. Callie Smith Godwin9/19/14, 3:37 PM

    My girls have destroyed some of my gardens, but hopefully everything will come back in the spring. Thank you for the wonderful ideas on landscaping, am going to use some of them, have some old watering cans sitting around. Our flock has expanded from 3 Easter Eggers, we now also have 2 Australorp and an Ameraucana Rooster.

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  85. Karen Briihl9/19/14, 3:38 PM

    We converted our beds from mulch to river rock. Helps save the flowers.

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  86. Paige Nugent9/19/14, 3:49 PM

    I would love a feeder.

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  87. I've been trying to just keep chickens out of my garden and this gives me some ideas. Thanks!

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  88. A decoy hole is a great idea.I'm always worried that I'm going to chop off a chicken foot or head because they want to be in the hole while I am digging.

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  89. If only I could get grass to grow. Live the idea of wire on the ground, will try that.

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  90. Hi. I work early a.m. Apparently my flock of barnevelders and marans have decided to emulate. I found a dozen foraging happily under the pole light between my barn and house at 4a. They had two Pyrenees as escorts. Is this normal?

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  91. Heading out to the local home improvement store to buy some old marked down ornamental grasses to plant for the Spring. Thanks for all your wonderful advice!

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  92. Excellent article. Thank you!

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  93. Romi Schlem9/19/14, 4:39 PM

    Thank you for another great newsletter and all the inspiring tips you continue to provide!

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  94. Allison &amp; Eric S.9/19/14, 4:40 PM

    Great post. One trick we found by accident is filling up one of those cheap pet pools with dirt/mulch and placing it in the yard/garden for the chickens to dig, scratch, bath etc in. Seems to work well.

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  95. Wow! What useful information you give! Can't wait to try some of your ideas - and thanks for such cool give aways!

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  96. Charise White9/19/14, 4:50 PM

    Totally want a Grandpa's Feeder!! Good article on landscaping, totally appreciate the tips!

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  97. Carol Liljedahl9/19/14, 4:53 PM

    Thank you for these great landscaping tips. And Yes, of course I would love to win the Grandpa's feeder.

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  98. We made the mistake of placing our coop right in front of a hosta patch. Snack bar anyone? We grow a small chicken garden where we have dandelion, clover, oxalis, lamb's quarters, and various herbs planted. They love it!
    We love the Grandpa's Feeders! They're so expensive though, we've never thought to buy one ourselves. Thanks for the great giveaway!

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  99. oh my going to try again for a wonderful product. Loved your information on landscaping for chickens. I can only hope my efforts are half as gorgeous as yours :)

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  100. Traci Carol9/19/14, 4:57 PM

    Great article on landscaping with chickens! All your tips are right on and are so helpful and practical. Mint is great. They'll walk through it and do some minor trampling, but they've never destroyed it. My vegetable garden is fenced: simple metal posts strung with 2" chicken wire.

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  101. Melissa Farncomb9/19/14, 4:58 PM

    TEALLY want to try one of these!

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  102. Love your landscaping article. Hope to try some of your ideas.

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  103. isobel carr9/19/14, 5:11 PM

    This is great! I'm planning my yard now (it's down to bare dirt) and I want to plant a garden the chickens will love (but not love to death, that's the Mastiff's job, LOL!).

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  104. Hi. Posted and accidentally flagged myself. I have a light pole between my barn and house. This a.m. (4a) I found a dozen of my marans and barnevelders happily snapping up bugs under it. Is this normal? Birds have Pyrenees escorts. More feed maybe?

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  105. Deana Gill Maisey9/19/14, 5:31 PM

    Great article! Chickens are interesting creatures!

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  106. Once again you read my mind! Thank you:-)

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  107. Leslie Fernandez9/19/14, 5:43 PM

    Thanks for all the great tips. I learned the hard way that they love to use the wonderfully loose dirt around my eggplant to dust bathe. Oh well. I'll forget about the eggplant til next year!

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  108. I thought I posted earlier, but maybe I didn't click the post button. I need this and will keep entering until I finally get one! :) Darned sparrows have come back. Apparently the grackles kept them away during the summer, but now that they've left our trees, the sparrows are back for free food. I found one perching on one of my hens one night! I told her "No pets!" and shooed it out.

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  109. This feeder is on my wish list...has great reviews

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  110. Love the blog as usual.

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  111. Michelle Karling9/19/14, 5:48 PM

    I love looking at all your pics and reading your tips. Your flock is just beautiful!! I'm sure my girls would love to have one of those Grandpas feeders ;)

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  112. Everything looks so neat and cool. I love how the chicken coup looks.

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  113. I need the grandpa feeder!!!

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  114. Love your ideas, I also have been playing around with an area in fromt of my coop and found that bulbs don't stand a chance! My grasses are safe, they do like the seed heads!, and my hostas are only partly bare in the back where you can't see them.

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  115. Sarah Marie Depew9/19/14, 6:15 PM

    I would love the feeder, and so would my chickens :-)

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  116. Would love this!

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  117. Sherryl Sandersfeld9/19/14, 6:58 PM

    Love this article, thank you!

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  118. Peggy Denton9/19/14, 7:14 PM

    Very nice yard. I love your bench - and flower buckets, etc. Can Mr. Chicken come over and do some work at my house?

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  119. Appreciate your knowledge and tips for trying to keep landscaping looking decent while letting the little plant bandits have fun!

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  120. Erin Stewart9/19/14, 7:24 PM

    I always admire your yard and ability to have free range chickens. My yard looks like a moonscape by the end of summer. I loved the idea about the wire under the mulch! Can't wait to do some of this next year!!

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  121. Kelly Keith9/19/14, 7:32 PM

    Love the feeder! Great plants!

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  122. Ginny Tata-Phillips9/19/14, 7:33 PM

    Yes we need a new feeder please!!!

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  123. Courtney Cloe9/19/14, 7:43 PM

    These tips are perfect! My hubby is building our run as I type, and I can't wait to put some plantings around in the spring.

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  124. Great article, thanks for all the wonderful tips. As always, the chance to win a feeder is greatly appreciated!

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  125. Margo Seely Giunta9/19/14, 8:05 PM

    I was just starting some research on what I could plant, and here you are with some advice for me! How did you know? Everything I planted this year got dug up and/or eaten...LOL. Maybe next year will be better. Thanks as always for an awesome opportunity!

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  126. Love the article and I hope to incorporate some of your suggestions. Would love to try out one of Grandpa's Feeders!

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  127. Love the outdoor planters and tips.

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  128. Thanks for the post on landscaping.

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  129. Thanks for the tips. Since my birds seem to be bent on eating everything that I plant.

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  130. Here I am again, trying to win... I would love the Granpa's Feeder. As usual, your newsletters are very informative with wonderful pictures :)

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  131. Appreciate your blog. I refer to your site often for helpful info.

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  132. Celebrating a first egg today! So excited!

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  133. It is still well within the normal range, Nina. They'll get there- I wouldn't worry about it.

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  134. Welcome to chicken keeping Jackie!

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  135. Sara Clisham9/19/14, 9:07 PM

    Great ideas. I definitely keep most plants in planters. They seem pretty content just sitting on it instead of digging!

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  136. Ann-maree Rain9/19/14, 9:11 PM

    I would love a Grandpa Feeder!

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  137. Lots of great tips--I may have to try ornamental grasses.

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  138. I tried adding tomato cages to the basil plant pots this summer and they did the trick - basil survived all summer. I am still trying to train the chickens not to drink out for the goldfish pond but no luck. Our fall batch of chicks will arrive next week and we are already set up with Chick-Cam in the greenhouse so that we can enjoy watching baby chicks from the comfort of the living room. :)

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  139. Kimberly Swenson9/19/14, 9:24 PM

    Your landscaping is beautiful Kathy!! Would love the feeder!!

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  140. Ron Willett9/19/14, 9:33 PM

    Very informative. I'm going to try some of your ideas. What is it about Styrofoam that is so addictive to the chickens? Would love to introduce my peeps to Grandpa's Feeder.

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  141. Tonya Causey Linderer9/19/14, 9:46 PM

    Love the pictures and tips! Your chickens and flowers are gorgeous!
    Would love to win a Grandpa's Feeder!

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  142. Jim atkinson9/19/14, 9:57 PM

    I have tried the wire idea, mine seem to find a way under it, silly chickens.

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  143. Amanda Wilson9/19/14, 10:15 PM

    I want one!!

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  144. Judy Silvernail9/19/14, 10:43 PM

    All of the pictures you take are really beautiful. Thank you for another well-written and informative article.

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  145. More great info... I so enjoy your blog! and want to win the feeder too! ;-)

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  146. Shannon Berrios9/19/14, 11:24 PM

    I feel like I need to go plant something!

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  147. Ashley McCullough9/19/14, 11:28 PM

    This feeder would be a great addition to my coop! And thanks for the encouragement on landscaping. I thought plants would be out of the question till now.

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  148. Darn, I was hoping there would be an easier solution!

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  149. I have the same problem with the Styrofoam!

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  150. Cathy Burlile9/19/14, 11:31 PM

    A Grandpa's feeder would be a perfect addition for my girls .... and their 2 roos :)

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  151. Orpingtonobsession9/19/14, 11:39 PM

    Thanks for the opportunity to add a money saving, aesthetically pleasing feeder!

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  152. Wish my landscape looks like yours!
    I lost one juvenile and ordered 4 more. I use Scratch and Peck Grower (now) and the shipping is as much as the feed's price. I need to be soy free and this is great feed. I'd love to win Grandpa's feeder and cut down on costs.

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  153. Jessica Crawford Cross9/20/14, 12:37 AM

    I love a manicured and landscaped yard, so this was such a plethora of info that I can hardly wait to try myself! Just became a chicken mommy 2 months ago, and we are already have a rat! So winning the feeder would be such a lifesaver for me, abd my girls! Love your site! You are so helpful in every situation!

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  154. This has been on my mind a lot lately. Even just my three chickens are digging up the lawn, have killed a rose bush and a mint plant (which they didn't like when they were younger, but love now). My back yard is looking bleak.

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  155. I'd love one of these feeders. I just switched to nipple waterers. This would help keep the feed clean and stop them from tossing it everywhere. Silly birds!

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  156. Stephanie W9/20/14, 2:11 AM

    My chicken coop is near our indoor arena on the south end. I have been wanting to do a little landscaping (looking at a big barn side gets boring). The ornamental grasses sound like a great idea! Help break up the monotony of wall.

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  157. We're still saving for one of these, but if we were to win. we could re-dedicate those funds somewhere else. :-)

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  158. Kathy Olding9/20/14, 2:35 AM

    Ok.. seems Alaskans never seem to win anything..haha..but here I am to try again!! I'd love to have a feeder like that! I enjoyed your story on flowers and plants around your yard. Thank you!

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  159. Deborah Paterson9/20/14, 7:04 AM

    Great ideas. I have been toying with letting my small Maran flock of 8 which includes 3 roosters (I hatched them) fee range. That thought was quickly erased this week as 2 Turkey Buzzards roosted on my roof checking out the menu. My German Shepherds and 100lb English Black Lab alerted my Dear Hubby who went on air gun guard duty for the rest of the day. He never hit anything, but non the less chased them off for now.

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  160. Cher Shipman9/20/14, 7:26 AM

    Thanks for this article on landscaping! Some of your tips will solve specific problems I've had. Also, some of the comments from readers have good tips as well. Can't wait for next spring to try them all.

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  161. Amelia Baker9/20/14, 7:51 AM

    Great ideas. Beautiful landscape! I so enjoy the pics on your site:)

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  162. Kathy Green9/20/14, 8:15 AM

    I love reading all the good information that you have and look forward to the seeing the next post.

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  163. Ellen Weeks Gogan9/20/14, 8:37 AM

    Hi Kathy. I did add containers to my yard this year. Just cheep plastic container from the dollar store. Colorful easy to drill to make drainage, plant anything in. But I put mint, wintergreen, marigold, dill, basil and oregano in them. Some eating here and their. But over all the plant survived. Thanks for all your help.

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  164. nancy weckbacher9/20/14, 8:53 AM

    Your information is so helpful, my girls love to scratch in the mulch.
    I would love to own one of these feeders.

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  165. Sandra Buck9/20/14, 9:37 AM

    Great info Kathy! I have heard so many horror stories about chickens destroying landscaping, so your helpful suggestions are reassuring :-)

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  166. Amanda Coblentz9/20/14, 10:04 AM

    I hope I can win this wonderful feeder before spring :)

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  167. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

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  168. 4shorthorses9/20/14, 10:09 AM

    Would love to win so the rats lose...I think I need to have my eyes checked as me and the 22 haven't won any lately....

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  169. Bethany Oliveira9/20/14, 10:12 AM

    The Oliveira girls need one of these!

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  170. Olena Pawluk-Fitza9/20/14, 10:16 AM

    Thank you for this post - I appreciate this blog and your FB page very much.

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  171. Would love to win the Grandpa's Feeder. And I do so appreciate the time you take sharing your knowledge and abundant experience.

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  172. Some great ideas! Thanks!! Will try some of them!

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  173. Glenda Brannon9/20/14, 10:20 AM

    So much enjoy reading your articles. You have a beautiful yard and chickens.Thank you so much. Love! Love! Love, The Chicken Chick!

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  174. I NEED this! I have a big mouse problem. They eat more for than my 3 chickens!! Thanks

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  175. I would love a Grandpa's feeder!

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  176. Love all the advice it has really helped with the plants I put around the coop !! Would love love to win the feeder I have heard it's awesome !!

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  177. I'd love to win a grandpa feeder.. Thanks for your info.

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  178. I need to save all the money I can hope I win

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  179. I love all the wonderful tips and ideas you share and would love to get the feeder for my feathered babies :)

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  180. I worked so hard last year on my flower beds... this year I have the new chickens.. and all smashed flowers.. thinking next year will be containers.. thanks for the tip.. would also love love love love love to win the chicken feeder.. I have to hang there feeder up on the hook every night due to moles tunneling under it.. I do believe the moles come up at night and eat there spilled food.. seems like my chickens want to throw it around before eating it.. Did I mention I would love to win this feeder :)

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  181. House chicken?!? Who has a house chicken?

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  182. Your rooftop planters are on my to-do list for next spring. Love them!!!

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  183. Jill Whitney9/20/14, 10:28 AM

    A lot of great tips as always! I am already a subscriber, but I would LOVE to win the Grandpa's Feeder for my six girls!

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  184. Becky Lounsbury9/20/14, 10:28 AM

    I love reading all of you articles. I am learning so much from them. Would love a chance to try these awesome feeder! Thank you for all the time you put in to all of this!!

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  185. Thanks for the good advice again. My girls seem particularly attracted to red and purple so I am switching to yellow and blue flowers. They ate/trampled all of the red leaved plants but not the white. Also, I'd love a Grandpa's Feeder!

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  186. Love the ideas for planting. Glad to see I am not the only one who buys plants at the end of the season for next year.

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  187. Would love to win the Grandpa's Feeder!

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  188. My back yard was full of weeds (I live in the desert) before I got my chickens, and yes the desert has plenty of weeds. Now I only have a male olive tree that all the chickens hang out under and dust bathe in. I will have to try some different plants and flowers back there come spring. Thank you for this information as usual it was very helpful, now if I could just win the Grandpa's feeder it would help my girls out a bunch.

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