Using Our Chickens to Help Prep the Garden

With all the rain we have had this winter (seeming to always fall on the weekend) and our busy jobs, we unfortunately did not get to plant a winter garden.  But now that it is only raining occasionally and it has warmed up, we have started prepping our raised beds for the summer garden.  Over the winter our raised beds were once again overrun with oxalis plants that propagate through underground bulbs.  The mild winters really suit this horribly adaptive weed.  We did some intermittent weeding, but even with the hand weeding, you end up with bulbs still in the garden bed.  There are also overwintering grubs and other invaders that took hold over the winter.

I decided that I wanted to get our chickens to help do some of the work.  We had created a make shift wire cage contraption to keep the chickens under control in the front yard, but it was starting to fray and fall apart as it was a jerry-rigged cage.  I purchased a Peck and Play foldable tent-like structure that can be pulled out and set up when we want the chickens to help, and folded up (more like rotated together) into a compact storable item when not in use.  It has two top zippers for dropping the chickens in.  My son wrangles the chickens and puts them in and they spend the afternoon pecking and scratching to their hearts content.  Apparently chickens eat oxalis bulbs because while my front yard is full of oxalis, there is zero oxalis in my back yard!

While the chickens don’t get all the weeds, they do seem to do well at breaking up the soil, eating the oxalis bulbs and other grubs which makes things a little easier.  We move them from bed to bed over the course of a couple of afternoons and of course put them back in the backyard and into their coop/run for bedtime.


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