Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Free Range Chicken Garden Book Review and the answer to did we do it...

I received a copy of "Free Range Chicken Gardens" by Jessi Bloom,
from the publishers at Timber Press and since I am a strong supporter of free
ranging chickens and gardens reading and reviewing this book is my pleasure.

This book is beautiful, accessible and a joy to read.  Not only do they talk about having and implementing a strong design plan but they also give great practical lists of plants
that our chicken friendly and also lists of plants that are poisonous.
The photography is beautiful too.  This would be a great book for anyone who lives in an urban or suburban environment and wants a beautiful and practical chicken set up.  If you are into utility only, this book is probably not for you but if you are a gardener who has been toying with the idea of integrating chickens into your garden plan this is your book!

They are giving away a copy of this book along with a bunch of other chicken goodies
on theire website.  Here is the info:

The contest

$50 gift card for chicken feed or supplies from McMurray Hatchery

One chicken coop plan from The Garden Coop (a $20 value)

1 lb. of organic chicken forage blend and seeds for chicken-friendly plants

All you need to enter is an email address. The contest ends February 17!

Now on to the question everyone keeps asking me...did we or did we not send
our chickens to freezer camp.
Now if you are a vegetarian, veterinarian or only like my beautiful posts
you might want to come back later, but if you want to
be encouraged to truly know where you food comes from then read on.
I has been amazing to me how many people have asked us
if we went through with processing our chicken. 
 Husbands and wives making bets whether or not we would be able to do it. 
Just fyi...the wives took the odds with me going thru with it. 

I have to admit that the morning of d-day, I was thinking inside my head...
I can't do this, as we were gathering up the chickens and putting
them in the dog crate to take them over to our friends and experienced chicken
processors, urban farm.  Then, I had to say to myself, as I have to do many times with
our urban farming, animal husbandry issues..."Caroline, you can do this, your grandma
could do this and you are from that same stock. You just need to reach down into
yourself and face the reality that this is where your food comes from."
Then, I was ready to go.
We said a blessing and thanked God for these animals that are giving
their lives for our food.

It is so much easier to think that chicken comes in little sealed plastic
containers from Whole Foods, but we were ready to take the next step
in being organic and sustainable and not only grow our food but
raise it too.  And on that day between Christmas and New Years we
took that next step by processing 14 meat birds in 2 1/2 hours.

If you are interested in doing this too, I would recommend finding
some chicken processing mentors.  The whole day went so seamlessly
 because we were in the hand of pros who have had years of
experience and wisdom.  If David and I were on our own, it for sure
would not have gone as well--that is a fact!

The sense of accomplishment, knowing that I faced my fears and
in the end the fear of what might happen was greater than what
actually happened... is empowering. 

This will now be part of our growing sustainable lifestyle.


  1. i'm really excited about this book, since i am thinking about having chickens in the yard at some point! well...good for you for going through with it. it's important to know where your food comes from and it is admirable that you are raising your own food as well as growing it!

  2. Yay! We're really hoping to do this sometime this year. IF we do, I'll be coming to you and Jill for reassurance and help!

  3. I knew you could do it Caroline. This isn't mean it's being realistic it's why your chickens were born. I know you gave them a wonderful life you were responsible, caring and humane right to the end. Now you have food that you know is safe to feed your family. Congratulations you're becoming a full farmer!


  4. That looks like a great book! I went and entered my email addy.

  5. My husband and I did this some 31 years ago when we were able to live in the country. People still can't believe we did. There is a sense of accomplishment...providing your food start to finish. We didn't have friends with the background knowledge...we only had the foxfire book to guide us.
    I applaud you!

  6. I culled my first few roosters last year (learned my lesson about ordering straight run chicks). It was emotional, because I do care for my birds, but too many roosters is not a good thing. It was not easy, but with the help of the kind people at the farm that does "community processing days", I managed it. You are absolutely right about having mentors! My husband reminded me that my roos had a nice chicken life up until the end - free ranging for bugs and greens, and chasing the ladies, lol. And it is extremely satisfying to eat food raised ourselves. Congratulations, and I'm so happy to have found your blog today :-)


  7. I am proud of you. I have a friend that does this. She has a garden, goats for milk, cows for beef, (I've probably told you this before) and chickens for meet and eggs. She makes her own cheese, bread, etc. Anyway, I helped her...once. I had a hard time with the goop, not the birds. I knew those birds had a wonderful, stress-free life, even in dieing. They weren't hauled off in crowded cages in a semi to get butchered. And, when they were alive, they were treated very well. I could go on....but I won't.

    I recommend anyone reading your blog, and disagrees with what you did, to read, "Harvest for Hope" by Jane Goodall. They'll be changed.

    Cindy Bee

  8. What a great book! I am already missing our little birds as they went to live with my parents last week. We have processed our own chicken and turkey for four years now and while I am still squeamish ( and let the hubs handle it), it has been wonderful to have our very own organic birds on the table. I really admire your sustainable attitude in an urban setting. It's an encouragement to us as we begin the transition from country to city.

  9. I like that you were able to do it. I know it was not easy but if you eat meat then you have to get your hands hurt (if you know what i mean.) At least your chickens were treated humanly and had a happy life. Like you said our food does not just come from a plastic tray at Whole Foods.
    Wish I lived closer I would be first at your door at your gathering.



Thank you so much for your sweet comments!

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