Have you ever wondered how chickens and gardens help each other out? If you’re a seasoned chicken keeper, I’m sure you already know. If you’re not, now you can learn how chickens and gardens join hands (er, wings?) in the “circle of life.” Yes, I did intend to get the song stuck in your head. You’re welcome.
All cheesiness aside, chickens and gardens can be a wonderful pair. The garden has been our birds’ autumn home, and they each provide some give and take for each other.
When the first frost was inevitable, we harvested the last of our crops and opened the chicken coop up inside the fenced garden area. In the weeks that followed, our birds took to pecking, scratching, and trampling through the remainder of the plants that stayed in the garden. They got the benefit of the garden scraps while they performed the labor of post-season soil aeration and fertilization for us. Thank you, gentle fowl.
After the leaves fell from our tress, the hubby took great loads of them to the garden and spread them about. Hello, rich compost! Plus the birds get to enjoy all of those little bugs that thrive in dying organic material. Both the birds and the dirt get nourishment for the winter.
Remember all of those garden goods we preserved? Now, when we take them out to prepare them, we put the scraps into our compost buckets. The compost buckets get tossed to the chickens. The birds pick through what they like of that, and work the remains into the soil as well.
And what will become of all of it? Our garden will be chock full of nutrients to help our plants grow big and strong. Our chickens will give us healthy, free-range eggs for our family. Perhaps we’ll even get some chicks in the future if they decide to be broody! And eventually, our current birds will become a wholesome food source for our family as well.
And the joy of it? It can start over again each year. New plants for the chickens in the spring to eat, new chicks to grow happy and healthy, new food for the soil, and new food for us, from both the garden and the birds. The giving is cyclical, and the cycle fosters gratitude.
We are thankful for the provision these birds can give. Nothing will be wasted, and all will be appreciated.