While working at the farm this past weekend – we decided that it is time. Our girls, the chickens, need to have more of an assigned “designated area”. During the building of the farm, the chickens have truly been free range and had free reign of every space. With little to get into or get in the way of, we have simply let them run around. However, now that there are patios, and flowerbeds and a much bigger garden going in – things have to change. Chickens love to dig, they love to scratch – and they just can’t seem to distinguish between all the green grass and dirt that is theirs – and the flowerbeds, patio spaces and garden space that is ours.
Late last summer and into fall, as the garden season came to a close – we allowed them in to rummage. If you have chickens, it is actually a great thing to do after your garden has run its course. They had a field day dusting and rooting around in the straw – decimating the insect population, eating and devouring weeds and seeds, and dropping valuable fertilizer. It became a daily ritual – we let them out of the coop – and away they ran to the garden.
But now it’s spring, and plants are about to go back in. We have spent the last few days raking back in the mulch that they have destroyed while mulling about all of the newly planted flower beds. So, we decided we better get a plan in action.
Now don’t get worried. We are not banishing them to a 2′ x 2′ cage. Oh no, these chickens are our friends…we want to give them lots of space to roam and scratch and be happy – and to keep laying great eggs! But just not in our barn, garden and patio area! So out we went this past weekend to purchase a 150′ roll of fencing and a large amount of temporary poles. It will allow them to have a 30′ x 40′ area to scratch and play in. Our plan is to rotate them around the property every week or two to a new pasture area. A minimum security “country club” type prison sentence for the next 6 months so to speak…until they can taste the freedom of the garden again this fall.
Jim and Mary