on gardening with chickens…

Jun 24, 2010 | 2 comments

Gardening Companions

     My paternal grandmother was a passionate gardener.  She lived in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, and spent the long, cold winter months poring over seed catalogs and making plans for new arrangements in her flower beds.  When she travelled, she often had my grandfather stop the car so she could knock on a stranger’s door and ask about an interesting flower she had spied over a garden fence.
    Although my father inherited that gardening gene, it did not get passed along to me.  However, his garden did.   Working among the plants, keeping weeds and slugs at bay, and trimming the hedges and rhododendrons is not my idea of a good time.  As with many of the maintenance chores of life, it is the product I enjoy, not the process.
     My attitude has changed somewhat, though, in recent years because of our chickens.  They peck and scratch right alongside me, ever vigilant for the upturned worm or the bit of seed or plant material that they deem worthy.  They cluck and squawk companionably and I find myself talking back to them, mostly in my kind of words but sometimes imitating their friendly-sounding language.  I don’t know what passers-by think – probably something along the lines of “and there’s another Oysterville character.”  Happily, the chickens and I are much too busy to care.


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    Ilwaco doesn’t allow chickens. Boo. Do you eat them or the eggs. I want them for the eggs. Let me know if you sell yours.

    • sydney

      It’s so interesting where chickens are allowed and where they aren’t. Portland (and I think Seattle, too) allows hens but not roosters. I believe you can have up to three hens there, even though it’s way more urban than Ilwaco! We just raise them for the eggs and we do occasionally sell a dozen but, mostly, we take them as “hostess gifts” when we are invited out to dinner or use them up ourselves. In the summer when there are lots of visitors, our hens are hard pressed to stay ahead of the crowd! I’ll talk to you more about it on Saturday!


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