Front flowerbed workers
The birds just love the gorgeous weather, and they especially love it when I lock the big dogs inside and let them have the run of the entire property.
I like letting them roam completely free because they dig through the dead leaves and practically mulch them for me.
Slacker is just waiting for me to go back inside so she can eat the dogfood. She’s the one who always looks for the easy meal. She’s lucky she lays eggs so well, or she’d find herself in the noodle pot!
I also like that they turn up my flower beds and eat all the bug larvae they can find. This is the year the locusts are supposed to return so I’m planning on letting them have the run of the place a LOT. I despise locusts (shuddering).
I saw a wonderful idea online for urban chicken owners; the man built raised beds for everything and built a long wire cage that fit right inside with a hinged box on one end. He would set the cage over a raided bed and put his two hens in it every morning, and the hens would work the compost into the bed and eat all the bugs and weed seeds. He removed them nightly to stay safe in their coop from predators (the hens were easy to remove because they’d enter the box to go to sleep). I think that’s a genius way to have hens in town and still give them the benefits found with free ranging since by moving their cage around each week on his property, the hens’ diet was varied, and their natural curiosity about their environment was satisfied. This could also work in the a rural setting if you had a specific area you needed them to work.
I’m able to achieve this same thing with loose hens by going out every hour and tossing a little grain where I want them to scratch/mulch/bug hunt.
Hens: more than just noodles and eggs!