Every time I head out to the garden to work, I have one, very excited companion. He is Lando – the gardening rooster. Lando is a free ranger and most of the day is content to follow me around as I do my daily chores. He especially loves the gardening ones. He will flap his wings and crow with excitement when ever he sees the gardening hoe. He will then race over to the garden and begin to scratch and till the soil. By scratching and pulling out vegetation, he is preparing the ground for new planting.
You can do the same with your flock by moving them around wherever you need some soil broken up or tilled. They will be happy to do the job for you. A chicken tractor is a great tool for this. Just leave them in one spot for a week and they will have it cleared for planting. At the same time they will be fertilizing the soil with their chicken droppings.
Chicken poo is a great source of nitrogen for your compost pile. To make great compost you need nitrogen and chicken manure is very rich in nitrogen. You can use a tumbler compost container or a box compost style. I use a box style at my house. Simply add droppings daily to the compost. Keep a compost container in your kitchen to collect food scraps and coffee grounds.
You will need something to turn the compost suck as a aerator crank. A compost thermometer is nice so that you can know whether the compost is heating up to the right temperature in order to kill the wrong bacteria.
Chicken manure is like gold for your garden. I scrape off every bit of it with a stiff putty knife from the area where they sleep and the ramp they walk down. I will pick up large chunks and toss it into the compost heap.
I use the used bedding from the coop to mulch around the garden beds. Fresh dropping that have not been composted can be too hot and may burn the plants, so keep the mulch some distance from the plant’s base and leaves.
I even save the liquid from the waterers each day and use it to water my plants. There is often chicken poo that has made its way into the waterer and that helps to fertilize the plants as well.
In the garden I like to wear my chicken Slogger gardening boots with the cute pictures of chickens on them. Lando likes them too as he is always pecking at the pictures.
I plant herbs in my garden which will benefit my flock. Oregano is a natural antibiotic. Just dry it and add it to your chicken’s water supply. Sage is an antibiotic that can be used to combat salmonella in chickens. Bee balm aids in respiratory problems and digestive tract health. Thyme aids in respiratory health and has an antibiotic and antibacterial properties. Parsley is a laying stimulant. These herbs can be dried and added to both feed and water.
A good read is “Gardening With Chickens” by Lisa Steele. It contains ideas for planning a garden with chickens in mind. It has some gorgeous photos.
Nothing is more relaxing than spending time in the garden. Lando is my gardening buddy and he makes sure that all the plants needs are taken care of.
For tips and tricks for raising outstanding silkies check out our Chicken Learning Center at VJPPoultry.com . VJP Poultry is an NPIP and state inspected hatchery located 30 miles north of St. Paul. We hatch out silkies all year long so we always have stock available. Like us on Facebook to get weekly updates on what we currently have for sale.
Victoria J. Peterson