Hopefully, you enjoyed reading about Goose and Henny-Penny in their last appearance at Pawsitively Pets because they are back again! These two ladies and their mom, Linda from Happy Healthy Dog Blog, are taking over this blog once a month to share some fun chicken stories and information with us. Special thanks to them for sharing today's post. Enjoy!
|Goose and Henny-Penny.|
The following post was written by Linda from Happy Healthy Dog Blog.
It’s moving day again for Goose and Henny-Penny, my backyard chickens. They live in a mobile coop which their slave (me!) moves every couple of days. Moving it (and its add-on extension wire mesh “tunnel” that I made to give them more space) is relatively simple and doesn’t really take long at all. Except that it does! As with most things involving the chickens, even the simplest things end up being entertaining.
The first few times I moved the coop it scared them a little, having their safe little house suddenly start moving. But their natural curiosity soon got the better of them and now as I’m moving it they’re pouncing on the new grass, weeds and insects as they appear.
This morning’s move landed them on a particularly weedy patch of lawn. Once I’d reattached their added-on “tunnel” and opened the coop door to let them into it – they exploded out of the door like two champagne corks! They immediately started devouring one patch of weeds, and then there was a problem – they had spotted another patch of different weeds! They dashed over there to try some of those. And so it went for quite a while, each different weed just had to be sampled. How could I tear myself away from such antics?!
This behaviour has lots of “green” benefits (apart from entertainment value) It certainly makes the chickens happy and provides a variety of foods for them including leaves, flowers and seed. All of which are full of nutrients a chicken needs. Another equally important benefit is that they’re ridding the garden of weeds without me having to use harmful herbicides or spend time digging them up.
These weeds, once digested by Goose and Henny Penny are then turned into beautiful, healthy eggs! In fact the more greens a hen eats, the higher the Omega 3 content of the egg. An absolutely perfect organic cycle.
|Fresh eggs laid by Goose and Henny-Penny.|
It doesn’t end there either. Another by-product is, of course, chicken manure which very quickly turns into great compost. The chickens scratch in the now bare patches loosening the soil, catching and eating insects and spreading the compost.
When I move them to the next spot, the grass starts growing into these previously ugly weedy patches. So my chickens are actually helping me to grow a beautiful lush green lawn! With not a chemical in sight. And all it costs me is very little effort to move them, and a handful of chicken food a day. I certainly think they’ve earned that!
The one gardening drawback of not being able to let them completely free range is that they can only eat the insects that are unlucky enough to jump into their coop. I have found a way to overcome this to some extent. Any worms, beetles or other critters I find while gardening that are big enough to catch, I put in a bucket and take to the chickens. They think this is a great treat of course, while I see it as working for their upkeep!
The most special of these treats is snails! As we’ve been having lots of rain and mist there are plenty of them. Early in the morning I go snail hunting in the veggie patch and happily feed these delectable treats to the hens. Unfortunately this is not one of the more entertaining chicken activities to watch! Goose, probably because she’s so big (and has shocking table manners), usually swallows most of them whole. Henny-Penny is a little more refined and pecks them into smaller pieces.
Either way, as someone who doesn’t eat snails and curses the devastation they cause to the veggies, I am most grateful that my girls can turn these pests into delicious eggs!
What could possibly be a more “green” (and enjoyable) method of gardening?
About the Author: Linda has written on and off for various dog publications for several years. She has also been involved in many aspect of dog care. Now, she's decided to combine her love and experience of dogs (and all things animal), her limited veterinary nursing experience and her writing into becoming a full time pet blogger at Happy Healthy Dog Blog.