By Lori Leigh
Story and photos
After a winter break, the chickens are well rested and ready to earn their keep again. 😉 There are many ways you can put your chickens to work this Spring, and they are happy to do so…
With longer days and warmer weather upon us, the ladies become more consistent with their egg laying duties. Golden delicious eggs are a welcome sight to many home kitchens.
It’s natural for chickens to scratch and peck. They enjoy the work and it helps to make the soil more pliable come planting time. While tilling the soil, the ladies will feast on weeds and pests, making their job even more enjoyable. They drop their poo whenever and wherever, but that’s okay…it helps to fertilize the tired soil.
If your garden is not fenced, consider putting up a temporary fence or use a chicken tractor. This keeps them on task where you want them to be. It’s also for their safety, so they don’t wander off or fall prey to predators.
Deep Litter Fertilizer
If you use the deep litter method in your coop during the cold winter months, now is a great time to put it to use around your homestead. Throughout the winter I turned the soiled bedding regularly and added more straw as needed, allowing it to decompose inside the coop. During the colder months the deep litter method worked as an insulator in the coop, and now as it is getting warmer, it will act as a fertilizer for plants and gardens. When cleaning out the coop I use the well composted litter around our young trees and bushes.
Be careful not to use fresh manure, as it is high in nitrogen and can be harmful to plants. Well composted litter should like like dirt. If turned regularly, it should be plant/garden ready in 4 to 6 months.
Watching the chickens work in the garden can also be entertaining and therapeutic. Once they finish their work it will be time for our garden work to begin. Happy Spring!