Gardening Chooks

You have not seen much of Mr Flowers lately, but I have – him and all his wives up on the veranda.

dog jumping

This year I decided to employ the meat chickens as gardeners. With this endless rain, combined  with the terrible heat earlier in the month, the garden is officially out of control. Some areas have weeds higher than the plants.  And it is time to start planting the next rotation of crops. So as we take out the last of the sweetcorn, Nick mows the weeds and then we pull the chickens over the newly mown areas.  After they have cleaned  and fertilised  a each row we will  till it and replant in a cover crop for the winter.  And the human gardeners can focus on the main gardens.


chicken tractor

If the rain holds off just a little while today we will be able to get some weeding done and plant kale and cabbages too.


I have an interesting situation in that I am not seeing any of the dairy cows coming back into heat. Nor any signs that they have been in heat. Alex the little Dexter came into heat and the bull bred her yesterday but still no activity from Aunty Del or Naomi or Lady Astor. Lady Astor might be bred  (with a straw last month) but I would be surprised if Carlos the Tiny bred both the others when they were in heat last month. Del is very tall. Plus Del needs to be bred and preferably to an Ayrshire for her sale to go through.  So in another few weeks I will blood test them all and see what is going on.  I would be thrilled if they were all bred of course but that would be too good to be true.

We are on Day 25 since they were last in heat so they still have a few days.  Though usually a cow cycles every 21 days.  It is possible I missed the signs, but to miss seeing three cows in heat would be almost impossible given that I milk them twice a day and everyone comes up to the yards to watch.  When they are in heat the cows and the bull climb up on each other and the ruckus is pretty hard to miss.

So we will see.

Molly’s piglets are now  24 days old  and ready to be weaned, usually I take them to six weeks but this mob is already too big for our young sow they will start to do damage to her udder soon with all their fighting and pushing for a teat.   Tahlia should be sold this weekend which will give me a free pen on the other side of the barn so this weekend Molly will be leaving her huge veracious babies  – with some relief I imagine. Every time I feed Molly they have their heads in her bowls (she does not mind) and they are eating their own feed in their creep area so I am confident they will do well.

There is quite a bit of rain in the forecast for this morning so I had better get up and get some things done before it begins.  Rain does not affect farm chores  though – it is still warm.

I hope you have a lovely day,

Love celi



25 Comments on “Gardening Chooks

  1. Boo’s acrobatics and pointy toes are impressive, as is your to do list. I’m off to do some pig-related work of my own. Have a good one!

  2. Exactly Ardys! Is he auditioning to be Siegfried in the ‘Swan Lake’ 🙂 ?

  3. Chooks are so much better at weeding and digging than people. Close to the ground, perfect scratching tools come fitted as standard, plus they reward you with either meat or eggs (or possibly both) for the privilege. I’m happy to hear Miss Molly is about to get a break. Eleven children all at once is enough to send even a less excitable pig round the bend…

  4. That’s a brilliant idea with the chickens! I know a few urban farmers with a chicken or two and those birds have the free run of the garden with excellent results. Hope that Carlos managed to do the deed!

  5. We’ve had great luck planting spinach, carrots, rutabagas, and turnips too. They all go under row covers when it freezes and slowly continue to grow through the winter. Then in the spring…… we are eating yummy veggies in February or March!!! Of course we are a bit warmer down here, and no doubt that makes a big difference!

  6. I’m also hoping Carlos’ has a taller range than it might appear… it’s possible those involved managed to figure something out…

  7. Talking about weeds in garden…last weekend not a weed in sight as every morning i go in search..On Monday heavy heavy rain.Within 24hours my garden was choked with weewas.Why is it that rain does what tap water cannot?

  8. It’s about time those chickens got to work. The slackers! 😀
    It’s a wet one out there, all right. Even though it has stopped raining, with this thick cloud cover, I doubt anything will be drying very soon. Hope to see some sun later in the afternoon. Hope you get some, too.

  9. Just curious – would Molly help feed the new piglets now that her babes are being weaned? Is that even possible given that they still need a lot of help?

  10. Last year we had tremendous rains for 5 weeks with only a couple of the days with no rain in that 5 weeks and I mean only a couple. At our place were stopped keeping track when we hit 25 inches. We lost the entire garden and other plants but on even devastation to the garden was the watering down of the pasture which I did not realize was happening. My 8 female goats AND the male were all totally messed up when breeding came along. It wasn’t until I felt the babies that I knew for sure and I had no idea when they were bred. I could not catch them. I have never experienced anything like that. They all ended up bred but they were later than I wanted. My male finally did his job ( I think he was more of the “problem” than the females even though all were off) but I saw only one female bred and I am around them all twice a day and most days multiple times a day. I haven’t a clue what was going on but this post sounded suspiciously like my situation last year. Good luck. Maybe all are bred like my goats and your bull is being as “shy” as my buck. I am hoping that shyness is Not going to reappear this year.

  11. Using the chickens in the garden is a great idea. One year I lost my vine plants to bugs. At the end of the season I put the chickens inside the garden fence for several days. I haven’t had a problem with vine bugs since! (Knock wood). In fact this year I had to hack back both the winter and summer squash, they were threatening to take down the fence and two of us really can’t eat that much squash – haha.

  12. You put everyone to work-including the chickens now! LOL Sounds like a great idea. It has been awhile since we’ve seen Mr. Flowers. Boo has great form-an Olympian for sure.

  13. Pingback: Gardening Chooks | thekitchensgarden – WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

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