Garden Photo of the Day

Striking the Balance of Gardening With Chickens

A Maryland gardener combines beautiful plants with happy chickens

Today’s pictures come from Avis Vesely in Maryland, photos she took on her morning “week and walk” with her four hens! I had to ask her more about her garden and how she manages to balance the garden and the chickens. Here’s what she had to say:

The grandkids pick out three or four young laying hens each spring from a local Amish farmer, and in the fall when the grandkids go back to school and my husband and I begin our winter travel, we gift them back to the farmer. The first year we kept them cooped but moved the coop around an area on the edge of the trees. Then the following year we put the coop in a permanent place and let the hens out when we are home.

They don’t seem to stray too much; however, our garden is in a rural area and I have found a few ways of keeping them close. The first week I keep them in the coop and feed them and visit a bit. Then I let them out when I’m gardening in the kids’ “Secret Garden” near the coop. It’s a place that we are still cleaning, and there are lots of leaves and bugs for them to scratch up. We buy dried mealworms as treats, and when I’m done working I coax them back into the coop with the mealworms.

Each day I work a different area near a part of the yard where I want them to be, and they follow me around. They don’t do enough garden damage to bother me. For the last several years I’ve been planting a lot of flower seeds in the fall, and they have done a good job thinning my lupines while they are looking for bugs.

They certainly don’t bother any established perennials; however, when I fill my patio pots with lettuce in early spring, they do enjoy fresh lettuce.

We bought the house 15 years ago as a little beach place, and then I never wanted to go back to the city. So after my husband retired, we put on a small addition and renovated the house. The property sits on a small lake, which drains into the Chesapeake Bay.

We did a lot of stone hardscaping to prevent erosion and have wonderful native trees and shrubs here that just needed some pruning and cleaning.


View Comments


  1. bsavage 05/07/2018

    What a gorgeous property there on the lake! Your chickens are so sweet as well.

  2. flowerladydi 05/07/2018

    So charming!!,,,, the chickens are adorable, and your property is just so warm and inviting,, I can totally understand why you would not want to move away! Just Charming!!!

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 05/07/2018

    I cannot imagine how wonderful this must be. Love it!!

  4. mainer59 05/07/2018

    You have figured out how to work with your chickens! My flock is not allowed in the garden. For several years I free ranged them. The holes they dug, the vegetable leaves they ate, and the poop on the driveway and walkways were too much for us to deal with. They are now penned in 2 large runs (I have them in one for a while, and then the other). I liked seeing them here and there on the lawn and in the garden but the damage was too much.

  5. Maggieat11 05/07/2018

    Love your story and love your property! Wish I could have chickens (not a big enough property) so I envy your situation. Just love to hear happy chickens as I know yours are! And what a location! Your are truly blessed!

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 05/07/2018

    Well, Avis, I wish there was a way that your chickens could play the Powerball lottery...they are, obviously, blessed with great good fortune! Seems like they are getting to live the ultimate in the good life...chicken least during the time they with you. Your property situation is delightfully picturesque and to envision you walking about with your clucking companions is a happy picture.

  7. Sunshine111 05/07/2018

    It is also lovely Avis! Thank you for sharing.

  8. [email protected] 05/07/2018

    Really enjoyed this GPOD ! Lovely narrative.

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