Chickens are more than just egg producers, if you utilize them correctly, they can be a vital part of a smoothly running homestead! They are excellent additions to any gardening effort, and can even be useful with raising larger poultry as well!
Here are some ideas for how to get the most out of your chickens, and as all these ideas utilize what chickens are born to do, your hens are guaranteed to be more happy as well! And happy hens means more eggs. It’s a win-win for everyone!
1. Prep garden beds
You will probably want to keep your chickens away from your vegetable garden most of the time, but when you’re preparing a new bed or digging up an old one, they’ll love to help you out! As they scratch and peck, they will turn the soil and also contribute some valuable manure. The bugs and scraps of roots and leaves they’re sure to find are also wonderfully nutritious for them, which makes for delicious and healthy eggs!
2. Turning your compost
So they’re not exactly going to help turning over your whole compost pile, but they’ll definitely still help in the same way they will your garden bed. Let them hang out when you’re turning your compost pile, and they’ll help break it down faster by gobbling up the creepy crawlers and many scraps of organic waste that are still intact.
For both 1 and 2, chickens will contribute to your garden and compost pile by producing manure in the process of pecking and scratching through that will add valuable nitrogen to your soil or compost. But you can also collect it right in their pen to add to your compost pile or garden for regular fertilizing or making a quick compost tea.
4. Grass and weed control
Chickens can’t exactly mow lawns, but they can help with seriously fast growing weeds or grass. If you have tough-to-reach parts of your lawn that require more than simple mowing, let your girls at it!
5. Waste disposal
Finally, and probably my personal favorite, is how quickly your chickens can turn kitchen scraps into nutritious eggs and valuable fertilizer for your garden. Fruit and veggie scraps and any leftover grain products are absolutely delightful treats for any self-respecting chicken. Just keep a container with a lid on your counter and bring to your chickens with their evening meals.
Chickens are awesome in so many ways, and with these simple tips, you can really get the most out of your girls (and your rooster too, he’ll love to help!)
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