Give ’em an inch

When you read about raising chickens, it’s all rosy-glow, down-on-the-farm wholesome. Charming birds roaming around your property. A steady supply of perfectly fresh eggs. Natural insect control, with fertilizer as a byproduct. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Nobody mentions that they go marauding in your garden, eating your herbs. Well, I’m here to tell you, that’s exactly what they do. Now isn’t that cute?

Not only do they traipse through the garden pecking at any leaf they find appetizing, they have the chutzpah to fly right up into my window boxes to lunch on my parsley and basil. We’ve eaten a lot of tarragon and chives lately because the chickens don’t appear to care for those.

I’m not sure what to do about this.  We don’t want to keep them locked in the run.  They seem to enjoy wandering around the property, pecking and napping and dust-bathing, and I enjoy having them wander around — I’m not immune to the rosy glow.  

The “No Chickens” signs certainly didn’t seem to work, and so I’m left shooing them out of the window box and threatening them with dire consequences if they come back. “Watch it,” I tell them. “There’s more than one way to be stuffed with herbs.”

So far, no luck. Anyone got any good tarragon recipes?

6 people are having a conversation about “Give ’em an inch

  1. I consulted Columella; he advises showing the chickens Foghorn Leghorn & Henry Chickenhawk cartoons; serving beer; showing the chickens a couple few dead slugs.
    If this fails, Columella suggests telling them chicken jokes: why did the chicken cross the yard? Because he was stuffed with herbs and headed for the stove. Get it? Get it!

    See Columella, De Re Rusticaalso, see also: Jean de Florette & Manon des Sources

  2. Goose — I’ve always considered Foghorn Leghorn a classic, but I didn’t realize he dated back to Roman times.

    Dianna — I’m doing the cost/benefit analysis. Which is worth more, parsley or eggs? Probably eggs, so the chickens are (so far) spared.

  3. Jamie Oliver’s tarragon/grape/goat cheese salad (which he calls “one of the best things that’s happened to me this year”) is amazing. I can send you the recipe if you would like to use up your tarragon.

  4. Ken — I googled and I think I found it (it’s got ricotta instead of goat cheese, but I get the idea). I’m going to try it.

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