Chickens are multipurpose garden elements, providing cultivation, weeding, pest control, fertilizer, eggs, and cuteness all in one feathery, clucking package. Three or four hens will keep a family well supplied with eggs. (Roosters will get you busted in most places, though.) A classic henhouse — around 4 by 8 feet, made very sturdily to keep predators out — is a wonderful addition to the sustainable garden. But another approach is even more sustainable because it performs more tasks than a henhouse. Stand back — here comes the chicken tractor.
A chicken tractor is essentially a portable coop with four walls and a roof covered in (what else?) chicken wire; it also has a somewhat enclosed roosting area. What makes this contraption unique is that the bottom is open to the ground. Imagine your little cluckers happily munching away on the weeds and depositing valuable nutrients on the soil. Now imagine rolling the whole shebang, chickens and all, to a fresh spot every couple of weeks. That would be a chicken tractor — a cozy, predatorproof, attractive way to get some help with the needs of your garden. Figure 13-3 shows how it may look.
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How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.