by Rebecca Nickols
Photos by author
It is officially spring now, but for southern Missouri the weather has been unseasonably warm for months. We’ve had one of the warmest winters on record and during the last several weeks the temperature has averaged in the 70s and 80s°F. (I hope we won’t be zapped by an April or May freeze.)
Spring is a beautiful season in the Ozarks. The dogwoods, redbuds and lilacs are now in full bloom and we all have a bad case of spring fever (chickens included).
The hens have enjoyed the shade of their favorite resting spot under a large forsythia shrub and have been diligently foraging for emerging grubs.
The weeds in the garden beds are also thriving in the unusually warm weather, and I’ve put the chickens to work … taking advantage of their chemical-free weeding skills! I constructed a fence around my raspberry bed and positioned the chicken tractor at one end. The girls are scratching up the soil, eating weeds and depositing a little fertilizer.
Each spring I like to plant something unusual in the garden. Last year it was egg-shaped gourds.
I envisioned the entire chain-link chicken run covered with these ornamental gourds, but that dream was squashed (literally). I was also hoping that this spring I would have a basketful of egg gourds to decorate for Easter, but the squash bugs invaded my vines and destroyed most of the gourds. Here’s an interesting fact that I learned: My chickens detest squash bugs.
At least they love Japanese beetles, and I do have a bounty of real eggs to share with friends!
To see what else is happening on our Southwest Missouri property, visit …the garden-roof coop.