Oct 16 2009

Chickens in the Leaves

Two years ago, we started a leaf pile.  I staked down a circle of chicken wire at the far end of the back yard, and we’ve piled all our leaves in it ever since.  The reasoning behind it is that, if you put your leaves in your compost pile with other stuff, the leaves will mat together and take forever to break down, especially the big flat leaves like maples.  So you compost your leaves separately, and after a few years you get this really great leaf compost.  It just takes a long time.

So, now that I’m rolling the chicken house to a new spot every day, I got to that part of the yard today, and thought I’d put their pen around it so they could play in the leaves.  They went right to work, scratching through the leaves looking for bugs and other goodies.  I think they found lots to eat, and they can stir up the leaves better than I can with a pitchfork, which should help them break down faster.  And they rewarded us with a full 7-egg day!  (Although I should probably remember that correlation does not imply causation).

Chickens on Leaves and Grass

Chickens on Leaves and Grass

Scratching Through the Leaves

Scratching Through the Leaves

They also got fresh bedding in their house today, but I didn’t take a picture of that.  Now that they’re fully grown and laying, and spending more time inside because they days are shorter, the house has to be cleaned out more often.  It all goes in the compost bin, so none of it goes to waste.  We’re using chopped corn cobs for bedding, and it works very well.  It doesn’t pack down as easily as straw does, so it’s easier to scoop out and get rid of.

Tomorrow morning I’ll put more air in the tires (it turns out 20-plus-year-old bike tires leak slowly) and start moving them back down the other side of the yard.

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One Comment

  • Seems like bike tires never hold air for very long. I remember replacing tubes in tires, and even those never seemed to hold for more than a few weeks. As a kid I always figured I did a crappy job of putting in the tube and pinched a leak in it. Now I think maybe it’s just a $2.50-quality tube.

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