I have an amazing flock of backyard gardeners. Dedicated and faithful, they are. Every day, I let them out of the run for recess and they rush around, making sure all their gardening tasks get done. They take their job seriously.
My 9 hens help me aerate the compost bin, a task, you might recall, that I fail miserably at (even as a proud pitchfork owner).
They also love to roam around in the soon-to-be-expanded garden space, regularly stirring things up. Thanks to the rainy NW winter and to the girls, things are progressing along nicely.
Then there is their chicken run. As they scratch and peck inside their own little walls, they help churn their abundant droppings into nutrient rich soil.
You can see how interested they are in gardening by the pictures I took while I was cleaning out the chicken run. They were eager to help. They never complain. They always show up for the job (unless it snows and they get too freaked out to wander outside–see here and here). They work at it until I call them in at night. Tireless and happy, they chat with me on their way in after a hard day’s work.
While there’s much to be said about the fact that backyard hens provide fresh eggs, it’s an overlooked fact that they can also be hard working, dedicated gardeners. Yes, they contribute amazing poundage of chicken poo for fertilizer. And they capture bugs with the precision of a sharp shooter. But what I love about them most in their gardening role is that they pick up where I fall short: with their help, the compost-turning-to-dirt is almost ready for spring planting.
Thank you, girls.