Thinking About Getting Chickens? Go For It!
Do you like chickens and are you thinking of getting a few? We say go for it! One of the first things we planned when we started work on the garden was to get chickens. As well as being cozy in the garden they are also very useful.
Since we have a fairly large backyard at home, we wanted to keep some chickens. Especially since Nicole is crazy about chickens (she even talks to them), along the way we noticed that they are also very useful. So we decided to share our experience with you and who knows, maybe you’ll have a few sociable roommates in your garden too!
Chickens can help you clean your plates.
How often do you have a bit of cooked rice, a dry piece of bread, or a piece of apple leftover that you don’t want to eat? Chickens will eat it with love, and give you a nice egg in return! You have less green waste, and you also get something in return! Tip: They really love a boiled egg. Just make sure you crumble it very well so they don’t recognize it as an egg otherwise they might try to eat their own. The egg is full of protein so that will help them to produce new eggs!
Chickens lay eggs almost all year round, with the exception of cold (dark) winter months. With three hens, we have a box of eggs every week from March until well into the autumn. Because we have chosen bantam hens, the eggs are a bit smaller than in the supermarket but we don’t mind.
Chickens can help you control insect pests.
Our chickens go crazy if they see any insect, mosquito, or critter flying or crawling. Since we have had chickens we have never had a problem with ants in the garden. They also love slugs and snails! Every vegetable gardener’s worst enemy is hungry snails, We have lost entire cabbages and beds of flowers to armies of slugs and snails that used our garden as a buffet, so we are happy to have someone help with the clean-up. Chickens also like to eat the larvae of the cockchafer, which you often have in your border, or in your turf. These larvae eat the roots of plants and will destroy your entire lawn if they get the upper hand.
Chickens like to eat plants themselves, so we often don’t let them run free in the summer. You could put them in a run in a certain area of your garden or lawn and move them around a bit each time.
Chickens as biological garden helpers against weeds.
Chickens love to help you weed. Not a tuft of grass between your tiles is safe for these garden helpers. Especially in spring and autumn, we let the chickens roam freely in the whole garden. They remove the young weeds in spring before we can transplant the plants. In the autumn and winter, they scurry around looking for insects and in the meantime clear away the weeds or old lettuce plants that are left behind.
Chicken manure is good nutrition for your garden.
The chickens have sawdust on the floor of their night coop. When we change the coop, we shovel the sawdust with chicken manure into the compost bin. There we mix it with other leaf litter from the garden. After a few months, we have a beautiful rich compost from this that we use in our garden. They also defecate when they scratch around, so your garden and lawn get a little extra manure every time.
We have had our three ladies for over a year now. Especially in the summer when we sit outside, they are nice to watch. Besides that, we get eggs and good manure from them, they help a bit in the garden and they cackle a lot with each other (and we sometimes with them too, haha).