On Chicken

The chicken have moved to their winter quarters.

chickens-2009-11-024

We’ve taken the wire fence from the summer garden down; moved the electric net fence to enclose the new chicken area; relocated the coop inside the old summer garden, and built a little dome shelter – complete with perches – so the chicken can be outside the coop and dry on wet days – like today.

The idea is to harness “chicken power” in helping to prepare next year summer garden. We’ll give them the run of the area through late April, with the hope that they will eat the bugs, control weeds, aerate the soil and incorporate organic matter – including their droppings – in the top soil (since I am also piling leaves, old straw, and other organic debris in there). Besides providing us with tasty eggs, those girls (and one boy) are playing a big role in the cycle of the garden.

Come April, they’ll be moved to another area that I want them to help clear. We hope to rotate them every 6 months, with the idea that, at all time, one area will be under chicken patrol, one area will be fallow (with cover crop) and one area cultivated.

Meanwhile, this winter, we have work to do moving the stones around to change the perimeter of the summer garden. One can see on the picture low stone “walls” outlining the perimeter of the initial summer garden – about 28 feet square. We saw way too small when we first did it two years ago. Of course, at the time, it looked big, and picking and moving the stones from the to-be-planted area to the perimeter was no small task. Fields grow stones, around here! Prospectives have changed. Funny how that happen. I now have grand plans for extensive plantings of beans, corn & squash for next year, so the summer garden is likely to be 3 to 4 times bigger by the time we are done.

A girl can dream.

The stones will have to be moved.



3 thoughts on “On Chicken”

  • I am dreaming of your gardens and chickens. One day I’ll have more than a 6,000 sq.ft. lot to farm. Sigh.

  • Sylvie – Great blog! This one brings back childhood memories of sights & smells when my grandmother raised chickens and sold the eggs. She didn’t rotate her chickens, probably didn’t even consider how great it would be for the soil. Keep up the good work!

  • Michelle – thanks! it’s been a learning experience working with chicken – such as learning – too late – they like some vegetables even more than I do (like Swiss chard) and that there are some weeds that they won’t really bother; but they’ll be right there on your fork as you are trying to dig it out!

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