Up until as recently as the 1950s, many households kept poultry alongside their vegetables, incorporating them into the annual cycle. It was a practical way to have fresh eggs, the occasional roast bird, and a way to control pests in the garden.
Unfortunately, after WWII, the cheap supply of meat and eggs through the new ‘super’ markets more or less saw an end to this part of the gardening process. Compounded by regular scares in the 1980s about salmonella and the more recent concerns over bird 'flu (Avian Influenza), even gardeners seem to have forgotten that chickens were once an integral part of sustaining the family.
Recently, there been a resurgence of interest in keeping chickens in the garden, and for the kitchen gardener there are several very good reasons to employ a few birds around the place:
Chickens are great company, especially for children