Garden Photo of the Day

Gardening With Chickens in Illinois

Finding ways for flowers and flock to coexist

Today we’re visiting a garden that blends beauty and practicality.

My name is Hailey, and I live in the northwest Illinois backcountry. I have a great passion for both gardening and chickens, and I wanted to have a place for my chickens that wasn’t utilitarian but beautiful and that flowed with my garden style. I have been working on my chicken coop garden for several years now, and it’s really shaping into something beautiful!

Chicken Coop GardenSometimes it can be difficult for gardens and a flock to coexist, as chickens love to eat and scratch up plants. I chose plants that are sturdy enough to withstand pecking and scratching, such as Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ (Zones 3–9) and common echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3–8).

nasturtiumI also choose plants that the chickens nibble at but don’t destroy, such as my absolute favorite annual, nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus). They especially love the seeds.

ZinniasI strove for bright cheery colors that would pop against the white coop. Zinnias thrive here, fertilized by fallen poop and shavings, and are very tough, withstanding chicken feet that take shortcuts through the beds. My favorite varieties are Queen Red Lime and Starlight Rose, a low-growing beauty.

RosemaryRosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, Zones 7–11 or as annual) is disliked by chickens because of its strong scent. It’s good for areas you want them to leave alone, and it also has lots of health benefits for your flock.

antique garden decorAs small as an area it is, I’m always finding places to tuck little pieces in. I found this antique rooster for five dollars at a garage sale. I also took an old broken chicken feeder and planted purple gomphrena inside.

Even in mid-October 2019, the garden was still going strong. The echinacea had died, but my starlight zinnias and chrysanthemums flourished until the final, killing frost. I can’t wait for spring to come so I can enjoy more memories with my beloved chickens and my flowers!


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View Comments


  1. User avater
    treasuresmom 03/05/2020

    Wow! How lovely!

    1. User avater
      haileyjo 03/05/2020

      Thank you very much!!

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 03/05/2020

    Hmm, you should, somehow, have one of your chickens pick out a Powerball lottery ticket for you...they are obviously blessed with being very, very lucky! You've created a wonderful place for them to live and thrive. I'm sure you are well rewarded with lots of fresh eggs. The views of your "backcountry" surrounding areas look beautiful.

    1. User avater
      haileyjo 03/05/2020

      Thank you so much! Yes my girls and boys are spoiled rotten, especially when they start getting all my extra organic produce in the summer. I love it out here in the hills, it’s so scenic, I am blessed to live here!

  3. Cenepk10 03/05/2020

    So sweet. Pretty too !!!!

    1. User avater
      haileyjo 03/05/2020

      Thank you!!!!

  4. User avater
    simplesue 03/05/2020

    What a beautiful world you've created! I want to live there too!
    I love those happy chickens in that beautiful setting of country and flowers! You are liv'n the good life! and so are those happy chickens! You've done a great job on those pretty flower beds...really lovely!

    1. User avater
      haileyjo 03/05/2020

      Thank you very much!! I’m my happiest when I’m gardening or weeding and the chickens are all playing around me. They give me lots of delicious eggs!!

  5. stewpot 03/05/2020

    Great idea - well thought it!

    1. User avater
      haileyjo 03/05/2020

      Thank you so much!

  6. btucker9675 03/05/2020

    Both your gardens and chickens are beautiful - all look happy and healthy! Thanks for sharing.

  7. user-5117752 03/05/2020

    Oh, what fun, to have beautiful gardens, small or not, and chickens pecking happily around you!!! And I'm thinking about those delicious fresh eggs, scrambled,
    omleted or boiled, doesn't matter! Great job! Thank you for taking the time to share!!!

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