Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Scratchin' out a Living

Chickens in the garden. Sounds like one of those incredibly clever, green, sustainable ideas doesn't it? After all chickens eat bugs, scratch up weeds, devour noxious seeds and even fertilize the garden. What's not to love? Well i'll tell you a dirty little secret. Chickens are dinosaurs. When you unleash them on your garden they will gleefully peck a single hole in every tomato,  dust bathe enthusiastically in newly seeded beds, pluck tender bean seedlings right out of the ground, and trample baby lettuces. Bah! 

Lucky for me many smart gardeners have already worked out how to safely harness chicken power. Check out this freshly cleared swath, courtesy of the chicken tractor.  

Here's more or less what that row looked like before the hens worked it over. This patch is next but all the trellising needs to be pulled up first to make room for the tractor.

He pounds the t-posts in only just past the flange but they are still tough to pull back out. Ah, but wait. See the red thing? It's a t-post puller! A handy tool to have if you are like me and enjoy rearranging your garden. I bought mine at the local feed supply store but i wish i had seen this nice galvanized one first.

The chickens have finished their work now and are relieved to be back on pasture. Scratching out a living, they complain, just ain't what it's cracked up to be!


. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I've taken to calling our hens The Hooligans. We're in the process of building chicken proof fencing. The people who write books about chickens being a great addition to a modern garden are filthy liars.

Julie said...

We had a little incident today and let's just say that there will be no runner beans for a few more weeks ; ) Request for turkey tractor has been duly noted he assures me...

Titania said...

I have at the moment 8 black australtorps, friendly, talkative hens! They have a very big run with fruit trees, but they are never in the vegie patch.