Gardening with Free-Range Chickens For Dummies
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What if you could create a working, harmonious, and easy plan to balance raising chickens, composting, and gardening, while allowing your chickens to be free-ranging? It has been done, and the result is a self-contained chicken hamlet — or a chicken utopia.

What would this chicken utopia look like? A chicken coop is centered in the middle, flanked on each side (east and west) with large, fenced, permanent chicken garden runs that also alternate as garden growing areas. It includes a space behind the chicken coop for a contained compost area.

Every feature is handy and close at hand. Chicken runs are alternated easily by the switch of an outside door. Chickens fertilize garden areas and, with the addition of humus and tilling, get a chicken run ready for planting.

Each year the large fenced runs are alternated between chickens and a planted garden. One year, you plant a vegetable garden in one of the fenced areas, while the other is a perfect permanent outdoor chicken run. The following year, you add finished compost or humus to the permanent chicken run, mix and till it into the soil, and plant it.

This concept is easy, efficient, and self-contained. It covers all elements of chickens confined-ranging in a garden.


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Bonnie Jo Manion has been featured in national garden magazines with her gardens, organic practices, chickens, and designs. Follow Bonnie at Rob Ludlow is the owner of, a top source on chicken raising, and the coauthor of Raising Chickens For Dummies.

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