Chickens, with garlic

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The biggest event in our chicken-keeping life recently was a sick chicken. This bird, one of our original flock, started hanging out by herself under the coop even when the other hens were out roaming and foraging. She also seemed to have the runs, and we noticed that someone’s eggs–we presumed they were hers–had a strange, chalky look to them.

We weren’t sure what to do, but a friend recommended we try giving her some garlic. Unwilling to force-feed the stuff to her, Mr. Green Scene instead cut up a bunch of cloves and added them to the hens’ water. (Couldn’t hurt the other girls to get a little curative, too.) Recovery was slow and not altogether steady, but I’m happy to say the sick bird now seems to be in pretty good health.

How nice to avoid vet bills, and even better that the cure was both simple and based on something we had around anyway. And we’d grown the garlic! Very satisfying. It might be our most staple-like crop. We have it around all year long, use it in practically everything we cook, and wouldn’t think of leaving it out of the garden.

Yippee for garlic!

At this time of year, garlic fulfills another important function: encouragement to the gardeners. Most other crops at the moment are promising, but still young and tender. There are weeks or months before we can say, "The tomatoes were successful" or "We grew killer squash this year." But the garlic–which gets planted in the fall and will be harvested in roughly six weeks–is in its prime right now.

It’s making scapes (those are the stemlike, sometimes curly tops that you might see at the market around now) and looks beautiful and hearty.

Can we call this photo a scapescape?

We’re starting to get very curious about the heads underground, but we’ll leave them alone for a little while longer. Meanwhile, scapes can be used much like the more familiar cloves.

Anyone else have a good garlic crop underway? Anyone use garlic to cure your chickens or yourself?

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