The chicken trac­tor

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

QOn the oc­ca­sions we are able to give our three ban­tams the free run of the gar­den, they make a bee-line for our small veg­etable patch. They ob­vi­ously love the roots, grubs and in­sects and, when things go to seed, we throw it into their run – and they spend hours peck­ing about through the leaves and roots. Is there any way we can com­bine the veg­gie patch re­cy­cling more ef­fi­ciently?

AJeremy Hob­son says: Should you want to be re­ally clever with your veg­etable gar­den and chick­ens then look no fur­ther than this pos­si­ble sce­nario. In Amer­ica, there is a sys­tem of keep­ing poul­try called ‘chicken trac­tors’ – named pri­mar­ily, I think, af­ter the ti­tle of a book writ­ten by poul­try-keeper Andy Lee. Put sim­ply, chick­ens are kept in move­able coops and runs and, once they’ve fer­tilised the ground, the soil is ei­ther then used to grow veg­eta­bles, or the land is kept as im­proved pas­ture for other forms of live­stock. There can be no doubt that, as well as im­prov­ing the soil fer­til­ity, clean con­di­tions and a more nat­u­ral diet pro­duces hap­pier birds – and more eggs.

You’ve not men­tioned whether your ban­tam house and run is mov­able but if it is, maybe you could try adapt­ing this sys­tem on a mini-scale and, once a par­tic­u­lar part of the veg­etable gar­den has been cropped, put the run over it so that your ban­tams can scratch, clear up the weeds and fer­tilise the ground be­fore you plant crops there again in the spring.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.