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Did you know that bored chickens are unhealthy chickens? Bored chickens fight with one another, pull feathers out and pick pick pick at each other.
Usually the answer to this is to just let them out of the coop and they will run around chasing and eating bugs. There other ways to keep your chickens from boredom and that is to put your chickens to work for you!
Here’s how we put the chickens to work
I mentioned that we do let our girls out to free range and find bugs. But I have a few flower beds and for some reason, that is where they all flock to. Next thing I know, they’re ripping leaves with their sharp claws and my nice plants are getting shredded.
I don’t mean they totally destroy my flowerbed, but they do more damage than I like to see.
The other place my chickens seem to end up is on the stairs, trying to come up to the porch. I do NOT want chickens on my porch, thank you. Chicken crap on the lawn is one thing, chicken crap on the porch is not allowed!
An easy answer to this is T-post and chicken wire or field fencing, which I prefer. It’s sturdier so I don’t seem to need as many T-posts when using it.
We just set up temporary fencing wherever we need it and put the girls in there. Using a wooden fencepost already in place or the wall of a building as a starting point for your fencing will reduce the number of T-posts you’d need.
Early afternoon, after they’ve laid their eggs, I’ll let them out of their coop and into the area I want them to work on. Well before dark, I open up the fencing and they all run back home.
See the temporary fencing on the right in the picture above? Eli and Jeyna have just let the girls out and are bringing them to the work yard.
Have you noticed that chickens like to go home before dusk? They want to be all safe and sound in the henhouse before it gets too dark.
If they don’t want to go back in, I shake a feed can with a bit of feed in there. They quickly get to know that sound and they come running for food.
Here they are helping me to get all the weeds out of a future garden bed.
Here, the girls are working over some composted manure in what is now the third strawberry bed.
As you harvest areas of your veggie garden, you can run temporary fencing and put your chickens to work.
Here, we have put a load of uncomposted horse manure in there. The girls then spent their afternoons breaking up the manure and eating any little seeds they found.
They have powerful feet, and they will break up all that manure till it’s light and fluffy. When you put your chickens to work for you, you’ll be surprised what they can do.
Another example of temporary fencing strung up between the pig run (on the left) and the permanent chicken run (on the right).
Here they are working on a big pile of manure. I just pounded in T-posts and strung the wire right around the big piles we have down by the barn.
When you’ve got several chickens working this hard, they are enjoying themselves! And you will get the benefits! Lots of fluffy airy composted manure that you can add to your veggie and flower beds.
Look at this huge bounty of eggs! The smallest eggs are from chickens who was just starting to lay. The huge egg is likely from a chicken who has been thru a molt, which happens once a year.
After they molt, they will start laying eggs again. Once they start, they may lay fewer eggs than the previous year. However, the eggs will probably all be larger than they were before the molt.
So, if you’re thinking of getting some chickens, start thinking of some easy ways that you can put your chickens to work, offsetting some of the work you’d have to do. Better they do your work for you!
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