Putting our birds to work in the garden is our first step into permaculture; making a solution out of the problem. I am about to tell you what steps I took to prepare my garden and my birds for their living transition.
It all started last week when I finally decided something’s gotta give. We have hens who are no longer laying, have gone broody, or are causing detriment to the flock. I happened to have one of each and then some. All of which are my oldest hens and to my knowledge had stopped laying, well it didn’t end there. An Australorp gal decided she liked the taste of her fellow layers’ eggs and one of my Orpintons went broody and made the other girls miserable.
So, these girls had to go. I originally planned on culling, or butchering, the ole gals, but permaculture kept blinking in my mind. Is there something these ole girls can do around the homestead?
Yes there is.. and way more than just one option!
I decided the girls would be best suited to find a new home in our vegetable garden. Its hardened over form winter and needed a face lift. Luckily I deep cleaned the main coop about 6 weeks ago. So all the pine shaving, deep bedding goodness has had a little time to air out. This will make a great mulch for the garden.
So, I caught all my older gals and transferred them from the coop, outside to my fenced garden. In my terms, I ghetto rigged the fence to make it a bit taller (I have no deer problems so I have no use of high fences) And with the help of a friend, clipped all the birds’ wings in order to possibility prevent fly outs.
Whew… got my cardio in for the day!
All the girls have since been busy busy at work tilling, spreading, and shallow aerated. Even Big Papa (our main rooster) has found a home with the girls (he spent the winter on his own outside the coop), so its safe to say he is in good company now, with 5 hens and 3 ducks all to himself.
To my surprise all 5 of the girls started laying again just two days later, I haven’t seen broody behavior, nor any evidence of egg eating.
Maybe they disliked the younger hens, maybe two roos on 12 girls was just WAY too much for my ladies, or maybe they just miss their free-er range days…
It’s ok girl friends I understand, if the mama hens aren’t happy, aint no chicken happy!
They are now free to wander as they please within the confines of the garden fence. If any of ya’ll didn’t tune in for my chicken hating neighbor stories, you haven’t missed much, but maybe now you get why my dinos lost their free-range privileges…
Let’s just say chickens are terrible landscapers…. te he he… ahem.
I am just so happy that my girls are happy again, whatever it was. And my garden is happy to.
Dreaming of a luscious garden,
(BTW..Anyone who is interested in having chickens or already does and may have questions, seek out none other than Justin Rhodes, his vlog on YouTube has transformed my view of chicken farming and I hope he can do the same for you. Thank You Justin at Abundant Permaculture for your wealth of knowledge!)