Gar­den fairies

Make hens your gar­den al­lies

Your Chickens - - Contents -

Given half a chance, chick­ens can cre­ate havoc in any gar­den, dig­ging up newly planted flower beds, mak­ing dust baths in your once im­mac­u­late lawn, which now bears a strik­ing re­sem­blance to a mine­field, not to men­tion dec­i­mat­ing your prized crops in a mat­ter of min­utes. But it needn’t be a hor­ror story — with a lit­tle care­ful plan­ning, your chick­ens can be your per­fect gar­den al­lies.

Chick­ens love noth­ing bet­ter than to be in the open air and sun­shine, ex­er­cis­ing, and sat­is­fy­ing their cu­rios­ity whilst find­ing their own nat­u­ral foods which are far su­pe­rior to any­thing we can buy for them. So why not reap the ben­e­fits of their pas­sion for the great out­doors and put your flock to work? Not only will your feath­ered friends help on the labour front, they’ll help your pocket too.

If you’re to en­list the ser­vices of your flock, it’s only pos­si­ble to gar­den or­gan­i­cally. Whilst chem­i­cal fer­tilis­ers and pes­ti­cides are po­ten­tially harm­ful to your chick­ens, your flock are low-cost, en­er­getic or­ganic pes­ti­cides, her­bi­cides and fer­tilis­ers all-in-one!

As om­ni­vores, chick­ens have a huge ap­petite for dam­ag­ing in­sects, snails, bee­tles, mice and snakes, all of which are good sources of pro­tein for them. If you have fruit trees, your flock will clean up any wind­falls, thus help­ing to break the life­cy­cle of pests and dis­eases, which may over­win­ter in the de­cay­ing fruit. Bug pa­trol stints are par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive in the spring and au­tumn when pests are most preva­lent.

Dig­ging beds, whether by hand or us­ing a ro­ta­va­tor, is un­doubt­edly hard work. But have you ever con­sid­ered us­ing chicken power in­stead?

NAT­U­RAL TILLERS

Chick­ens are en­vi­ron­men­tal­lyfriendly tillers of the earth, cre­at­ing per­fect seed beds by scratch­ing only the sur­face layer with­out dis­rupt­ing soil struc­ture. Their scratch­ing will

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