03 April 2010

Gardening with chickens

The view from my kitchen window is of a terraced rock wall partially shaded by pines and with a crab apple tree and forsythia at one end and the chicken coop on the other. Sounds lovely, right? Except that time has taken its toll on the wall so that little of it appears beneath the piles of pine needles. I vowed to reclaim the space this spring after who knows how many years of neglect.

Savannah is my little helper. I suppose William is too since I garden with him in the backpack and he has to cooperate so I can work. The chickens also help! They are eternally curious about the goings on of their human family so whenever we garden outside, they keep us company. As I rake away the pine needles, Scarlet and Penny stayed within a few steps of the rake so they could eat up any tasty morsels uncovered by the rake. Savannah feeds then grubs whenever one is unearthed. As the girls eat grubs now, it means fewer insect problems in the coming months.

I had to pry out of the earth many of the large stones that had toppled over years ago and find a new spot for them along the wall. Each time I lifted another stone Scarlet would run over and eat up any worms, ants, pill bugs, etc that she spotted. The chickens till the soil with their feet. They have powerful legs and claws and scratch the earth much better than I could aerate it with a garden fork or cultivator. Our soil is a very thick clay so I really appreciate the help!

As we work the soil and the girls eat their fill of all natural protein, the boys keep guard. Coburn keeps guard on top of the rock wall while Lucky keeps an eye out from below.

We love our girls (even if two of them turned out to be boys). Three days into my terraced wall project, I've restacked two levels of the wall and removed nine wheelbarrows of pine needles for composting elsewhere. Some of the bulbs I planted area already much happier and the crocuses have pushed through.


Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Alma said...

Very nice photographs! Seems like the ideal place to live. :)