ShadyGardens Blog

January 17, 2014

Rest in Peace Barney: 2005 – 2014

Filed under: Andy, Barney, best, chickens, Daphne, free-range, Fun Girls, Griffith, guard, hens, rooster, Skippy, Thelma Lou — shadygardens @ 12:39 pm
Barney would have been 9 years old, this April



Barney was the best rooster we’ve ever had. He loved his hens, Thelma Lou and the Fun Girls (Daphne & Skippy) and guarded them with great care. Yes, Barney and his hens were named for the greatest TV show of all time, Andy Griffith. (We had an Andy too, but he was a mean rooster–too mean for free-range. We had to send him to another farm where the chickens were kept in a fenced area.) Thank you for the wonderful service you provided here at our little farm, Barney. You will truly be missed.

January 9, 2010

Global Warming: Where Is It?

Filed under: animals, chickens, cold, freezing, garden, gardens, Georgia, global, nursery, pets, Shady, temperatures, warming — shadygardens @ 4:58 pm
Global warming has been a topic of much discussion for quite a while now. Former Vice President Al Gore even won a prize for his movie on the subject.

If global warming is actually occurring, it isn’t anywhere near our garden. We’ve endured early morning temperatures in the twenties for over a week now, and early morning temperatures in the teens for 3 days. In fact, the predicted high today is 28 degrees, which is, if I heard them right, according to our local weather station, about 20 degrees below normal for this time of year. 
When temperatures are this low, a gardener and owner of backyard chickens must take many precautions for the safety of his animals and plants.

First and foremost is water. All water in our garden has been frozen now for over a week. Although most of the days have been sunny, water in our birdbaths and pet waterers has not thawed, even during the warmest part of the day. Water is necessary for survival, even when temperatures are in the teens. Make sure your animals have access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Provide an area of shelter out of the wind for your animals during these freezing weather episodes. If possible, provide heat or a heated blanket or even allow your pets indoors at night.
About the plants, I don’t know what to tell you about that.  Container plants should be watered at least every few days, but I can’t make myself stand out there with a hose when it’s this cold.
Here at Shady Gardens, we’re all eagerly anticipating next Wednesday, when temperatures are supposed to climb into the 50’s that afternoon. And still, the night time temperatures will again drop down into the teens… 

March 15, 2009

The Loss of a Pet

Filed under: chicken, chickens, illness, insect control, loss, pet, Skippy — shadygardens @ 2:33 pm

Many of you have visited us here at Shady Gardens and enjoyed meeting our chickens. Hearing the names of them usually brings a smile. We gave all our chickens names from our favorite TV show. You’re probably familiar with Barney, Thelma Lou, and the Fun Girls, Daphne and Skippy. (Andy was a terribly mean Rhode Island Red Rooster that we couldn’t keep here with small children! And Barney decided we should give away Gomer, because he didn’t want to share the girls with him.)

Several weeks ago we were saddened with the loss of Skippy after a lengthy illness. Skippy was a good chicken. Our chickens are really just pets. We eat the eggs but never the chickens.

Although Skippy was never much of an egg layer, she certainly did her part as a member of our Insect Control Team. Skippy was the only hen that would not put up with Barney’s foolishness (you know how roosters are!) We will certainly miss her.

The Loss of a Pet

Filed under: chickens, hen, insect control, pet, Shady Gardens Nursery, Skippy — shadygardens @ 2:17 pm

Many of you have visited us here at Shady Gardens and enjoyed meeting our chickens. Hearing the names of them usually brings a smile–Barney, Thelma Lou, and the Fun Girls, Daphne and Skippy. Several weeks ago we were saddened with the loss of Skippy after a lengthy illness. Skippy was a good chicken. Although she was never much of an egg layer, she certainly did her part as a member of our Insect Control Team. Skippy was the only hen that would not put up with Barney’s foolishness (you know how roosters are!) We will certainly miss her.

November 11, 2008

Chickens in the Garden

Filed under: chickens, control, garden, grape vines, insect control, Japanese Beetle, organic — shadygardens @ 4:49 pm

If you’ve been out to our garden, you’ve probably seen the chickens. Barney the Rooster was an Easter chick a few years ago, a gift from my little girl’s classmate. When we decided Barney might be lonely, we obtained a mate for him and named her Thelma Lou. She has been a wonderful addition to our family, providing delicious eggs regularly, in addition to ‘organic insect control.’

Each day we let them out of the greenhouse which serves as a night time shelter from predators. The chickens scratch around all day long, eating bugs and fluffing the mulch.

One day we decided that our garden was just too much work for two chickens, so we added the Fun Girls, Daphne and Skippy. Together they wander around the garden all day long, keeping insects under control.

Last summer we noticed a definite reduction in the number of Japanese Beetles. I’m certain that is a result of the chickens’ enjoyment of them the previous summer. The chickens would rush to my side each time I walked near the arbor where grape vines grow. At that time the vines were covered with Japanese Beetles, and if I tapped the vine, what seemed like hundreds of the pests would drop to the ground. I wish you could have heard the clucking of the chickens as they enjoyed each one!

In addition to providing eggs and helping with insect control, chickens are a great hobby, offering amusement and fun in the garden for children and adults. In other words, the chickens make me laugh. I just get tickled when I see them running to catch up with the others when one finds something tasty!

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