Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chickens 2013

The chickens are huge.

They used to look like this.

We used to hand feed them.

We don't do that anymore.  It hurts.  And there is one - a Red - that purposefully bites fingers to make us drop all the feed.

We try and keep the feed to the feeder so they will churn up the dirt and the greens from the garden I throw in their enclosure.  This is one of the benefits/reasons for raising chickens - compost.  Or I should say - compostors.  I throw weeds, trimmings, fallen tomatoes, the plants I pull out as I rotate crops into their enclosure.  They LOVE it.  They eat the worms and snails and bugs on the plants and in the roots and scratch around.  And poop.  They poop a lot.

Then I throw some hay on that and they scratch some more.  This turns all the veggie matter over and over and mixes it with the dirt and the poop.  I throw on some dirt and then start the layers again.  In no time we should have lovely, well-turned compost.  Free, high in nitrogen fertilizer.

It's a win all around - the chickens get to scratch and eat veggies and bugs.  They don't poop as much in their coop.  They are eating all organic stuff that will improve their health and the quality of their eggs and we get super compost in much less time than if I was in charge of turning the stuff.  Pretty cool, huh?