Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chicken feed for the soul

A brother blogger mentioned the joys of finding various soil dwellers in the course of gardening (Larval Thoughts) and the joys of bribing the local birds to be your friends.  Our urban farm has a flock of four lovely chickens, which we've bribed since chickhood to be our friends and give us lots of eggs. 

The issue of giving the chickens free range of our entire yard is a bit of a bone of contention in our household.  Resident Spouse likes to let them roam to eat fresh grass and find bugs.  I don't really mind it when I'm digging out sod or otherwise clearing out the detritus because they do a wonderful job of breaking up sod clumps in their quest for worms and other goodies.  I do have an issue when they tear out plantings.  A slightly cavalier attitude towards this behavior on the part of said chicks lead to me having to rebuild and replant a garden bed several days in a row before the issue became a topic of household .... uh.... discussion.

The joys of chicken ownership for any gardener are multitudinous and range from having a wonderful use for lawn clippings (in the coop) to the hottest compost pile you'll ever experience.  The egg shells create a calcium-rich compost that makes for lots of healthy worms to stuff a chicken full in no time flat if you let her at the bottom of the compost bin.  And I have to admit to a bit of vicious pleasure in hunting down that nasty cutworm who dared damage my cucumber and tomato vines. 

Lovely eggs.  Those cutworms do turn into mighty fine omelets.


  1. I can't remember if you've said -- do you have a mobile chicken coop, that you can wheel around?

    Apparently chickens like strawberries just as well as robins do -- so if you have any Rich-legacy strawberrying instincts within you, I'd recommend either coop or shotgun. A coop seems more humane, somehow.

    Cheers ...

  2. I've got one crew of stawberries in a berrying pot and a second pot ready to fill. I've had poor luck with strawberrying to date so this is my latest attempt. I think we've had more problems with deer than robins although I've not watched for those critters. Usually the entire plant is chopped off, leaves berries and all. Grrr.

    The mobile coop worked for a while but not so mobile. The girls are now in a dedicated space (easier on our time and backs) and they get the berries that we are too fussy to eat.