The idea sprouted from the frustration of never being able to keep up with the weeds. It seemed that I could never keep up and ‘they’ started to take over my life! I couldn’t shrink the garden because, then it wouldn’t be worth the trouble to have one. I need it to be large enough to feed this castle, and besides we would rather eat what we grow. But I’m out number!
I was torn between two loves! The love to grow and the love to be with family (especially on weekends!) but the weeds demanded all the attention.
And then it happened one year, I fell sick! The weeds wasted no time taking advantage of the situation.
Ohhh groan… why can’t the chickens be trained to eat JUST the weeds and not the plants too!
Then, I got the idea….why can’t we make a bunch of chicken runs in the garden between the rows??
So I did some research and found out that it’s not good to spread chicken waste during the growing season…it’s to strong. Well, a few years went by, we learned more about chickens and dealt with the frustration (grumbling on weekends 😉 of pulling weeds.
This year, with sooo many days of rain, and the weeds so far ahead of me that I’d never catch up. In desperation I decided to try something.
A friend sent me a link, talking about using chicken tractors in the spring on the garden before planting. The chickens take care of all the weed seeds before they get a chance to become a nightmare. (yes, some use pigs for this; but I don’t have pigs and don’t intend on getting any; love my chickens )
More research was started, and I discovered that the waste from a couple of chickens in-between the rows, and not on the plants is actually a good balance…I guess we’ll find out 🙂
I decided to go for it!
Here’s idea No. 1
Yes, It Is a Rabbit Cage!
This was a great idea!
I used two rabbit cages and put 1 chicken in each. Used the plastic bottom as a roof for shade and rain protection. And made sure they had water all day. This worked wonderfully and the chickens did an awesome job…Just three problems.
1) They could reach the corn leaves through the cage. (should be great for those who have wider rows)
2) Be very careful moving the cage, some chickens are smart and will get out when lifting the cage to change the water. (had to chase it back to the coop to catch it).
3) You have to return the chicken to the coop every night. There’s no shelter and they are vulnerable to night-time predators.
Okay, so now I know this might work! And the Super-Hero sees some potential, so he jumped on board!
Idea No. 2
Heyyy, We’re Now to Something!
Obviously by now you can see we are fans of creating with what we have. We used some scrap left-overs from other projects, some pallets, and some small-hole wire meshing, so the chickens could not get the garden plants and the plants could not poke through. At one end we made a shelter and a door. We also made the top frame longer to double as carry handles.
(Ps. It was The George who actually built this one as we were frantically weeding after 4 days of rain).
This works better than the rabbit cages!!
No 1. We hinge the door on the top….dah!! Chickens can potentially dart out when I lift the door, to change out the water.
No. 2 We can not switch rows without losing chickens! ( dah!! smacking fore-head lol)
But check out the clean rows where they have been!!! No, we are not discourage. We are getting anxious because we can see that we just might get to go to the beach this year!!! 😀
Idea No. 3
The Three Star Motel for Chickens
Book your dates early girls, ’cause this Garden Chicken Tractor has it all!
Double the length…Nice!
And he slopped the whole thing down 3 inches for run-off.
Easy In ; Easy Out
Duel purpose door. Notice the water is sitting on a shelf, thereby allowing the chickens to peck under the waterer, as well as keeping the water clean when they are scratching in the dirt. This door is also used to put new chickens in when swapping out.
Yes, That Really is a Medium Sized Dog Kennel and; Duct Tape!
Brilliant I know! This dog kennel solved a lot of problems. First, it’s a shelter and second we can chase the chickens in it, close the cage door (that only a stick is holding it open through the slats), then unhook the dog kennel (eye-hooks to the tractor), so we can easily change rows….or swap out to the next ‘girls’ that booked a vacation to the garden!
We duct-taped the hole in the kennel to keep the wind and rain out.
This Mammy and her girls are very happy and already planning on building 2-3 more! The only thing that will change next year will be the time we set these out…in the spring!! Those weeds won’t stand a chance!
Two Happy Hens Love’n Their Vacation
Of course, I still have to weed in-between the plants, but hey, I can live with that. Plus, I wouldn’t want it any other way….playing in the dirt is my ‘happy place’ again!
Many Thanks to my Super-Hero and The George who just saved our summer!
A wife, mother, grand-mother, farmer and wrinkly ol' writer, who's finally got some roots planted in 'The Heart of the BottomsUP 2/3 Acre.' A born and raised city-chick, who found many'a smiles where her heart had always longed to be, in the country. Digging in as close to the beginning of creations, and finding wonderment with a smile. I live my life as a rollar-coaster adventure, and always adding new dreams as old ones are full-filled. Of course, I write about it all!