Home Energy Management At Kentucky’s Southern Grace Bed & Breakfast, the Chickens Eat Well…Really Well

At Kentucky’s Southern Grace Bed & Breakfast, the Chickens Eat Well…Really Well


BRANDENBURG, KY.—If you are staying at the Southern Grace Bed & Breakfast in Brandenburg, Ky., and can’t finish your tasty breakfast, don’t even think about throwing your food scraps in the trash. The approximately 70 chickens—free range chickens—will be more than happy to eat what you cannot. According to Theresa Padgett, owner of the 15-acre B&B with her husband David, all food scraps are either fed to the chickens or composted. The plate-to-chicken approach to waste management is just one of the ways the B&B owners work to lighten their property’s impact on the planet.

In the garden that the owners plant each year, a “lasagna” no dig, no till, layering method is used. Layers of cardboard or newspaper are alternated with layers of “live” material such as leaves, egg shells or vegetable clippings. Manure from the chickens, alpacas and cows is used as fertilizer around the farm. Coffee grounds and tea bags are composted, and items such as aluminum and steel cans are recycled.

Theresa says the five-guestroom B&B was built in 2001 by their 23-year-old son. At the time, she and her husband were taking in homeless children and needed the extra space. The home was converted into a B&B in 2010 and has since welcomed 8,000 people from 22 countries and 49 states.

Electric Company Questioned Monthly Bill

When the home was built polyurethane spray insulation with the highest R rating was used. The home is sectioned into three zones and each zone has its own hot water tank and heating and cooling system. Theresa says the home is so energy efficient that the electric company came out four times to change the meter because they could not believe the monthly bill was so low. During the colder months, the heat is turned down at night. Each guestroom has its own space heater to use, if needed.

During the warmer months towels are hung on a line outside to dry and bleach them. Water-efficient toilets help to keep water consumption down and rain water collected in a rain barrel is later used for irrigation.

Sweet potatoes, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries are all grown on-site and used for breakfast. Eggs come from the chickens that freely dine on bugs and food scraps. Maple syrup from a local maple syrup farm is available to guests.

Guests Can Interact with Nature

Guests have the option of collecting their own eggs for breakfast—even green eggs, if they so choose, as the hosts’ Ameraucana chickens actually lay eggs in the color green. Guests interested in fishing can catch large catfish and bass but there is a “catch and release” policy on the property.

Theresa says she was inspired to take an eco-friendly approach to innkeeping by her father who taught her to protect the Earth. He was the chief ranger of Kentucky’s Bernheim Forest. “I love the outdoors, bird watching and digging in the dirt to this day and you will never get that farm girl out of me,” Theresa says.

The Padgetts’ approach to guest service, along with their concern for the planet, is working well. According to Theresa, during the B&B’s first two years, it earned more five star reviews on TripAdvisor than any hotel, motel, or B&B in Kentucky during the same period.

Go to the Southern Grace Bed & Breakfast.