Thursday, 27 June 2013

Grazing it down...

In between our perimeter windbreaks (mature willow and spruce) lies a golden opportunity.  

Grasses & "weeds" give a lush appearance to this area (and are doing some good in repairing the soil), but we have decided to put the area to much more productive use before any more seed setting occurs...


The Humble Chicken

We erected temporary fencing and set our hens free to graze the area down in hopes that they'd make a dent in the weeds before they all went to seed.  

(You know that when I say "we", I mean "he", right?  I can't take a lick of credit for that, Kelly did it all while I was away for the day on course last weekend - what a guy!)

Well by golly, those hens thought they took the Concorde to Utopia and set to work scratching and grazing in the woodland area like there was no tomorrow (after all, chickens are woodland creatures).

What was previously VERY "weedy", now looks like this after just one week:

Can you believe the power of "Chicken"?  

1) graze down "weeds"
2) eat insects
3) fertilize the trees
4) lightly till the area
5) produce nutritious orange yolked eggs

All of that in exchange for moving a fence over 30 feet.  To heck with horse power (HP), we harness chicken power (herein called: CP) at Little Home In The Country!

Tomorrow, we move the fence down the tree line and watch the magic unfold once again...

**  Of special note to anyone interested in Rhode Island Reds...  we have NEVER in our entire chicken keeping lives (going back some 20 years) had any breed of poultry that came even remotely close to the grazing efficiency of these Reds.  They reign supreme!  Our Rhode pullets won't be in lay until the Fall, but by golly, those birds are growing fast and are so robustly healthy.  They are a tad bit more skittish than our mature hens (of great breed diversity), but I highly recommend them for their ability to forage.  They are excellent dual purpose birds that are very winter hardy (which is a bonus in our clime).  


  1. Willing workers! I bet you could hear the glee in their clucks as they kicked it all around!

    1. Yes, Sandra - willing indeed! They are so funny running out there FULL SPEED from the coop in the morning... they LOVED it!

  2. love your chickens, wish we had an area to graze some. We did keep some chickens but felt sorry for them as we had to keep them caged up as Hubby did not appreciate them ruining our garden.. no real life for a chicken.
    Yours look very content and what an amazing job the are doing.
    Blessings to you for sharing

    1. Nell - yes chickens can DESTROY a garden in a manner of minutes! Fenced chickens on smaller properties CAN thrive, but it takes a bit more work on your behalf to bring them fresh forage daily. You can grow greens and worms for them (in a worm bin) so that they get those vital components in their diet. Obviously, it's a lot more work to have to do all that and it's nice if the chicken can do that for itself while ranging...

  3. Hi Sherri! Found your blog via the Worm Update. I have a blog of my own, but with my Mother's passing in March, I have gotten a little behind. Hope to catch up on some blogging and reading soon. Thanks for your response.

  4. Thank you for making this post! I showed it to my husband and he has decided that we could do with some Rhode Island Reds to do a little work around this place. Our ex-battery girls free-range in the woodland, but scarcely make a dent in anything - they have a brilliant life and produce plenty of good eggs, though. The new girls will have to earn their keep, and will not free-range to quite the same extent, as we'll set them to work on defined, but generous, strips of land. I guess I'm going to have to become good at erecting temporary fencing!

    1. LOL, yes temporary fencing is key. We are researching electric fencing at the moment as I'd like to be able to move the "girls" every few days. Currently that means an exhausting amount of shuffling posts, etc.

  5. Love those pics Sherri! They are wonderful aren't they (except when they practice in my vegie patch!)great idea to put the temporary fence there...and i always say we too ;)

  6. I have RIR mutts, just a bit of something else in their genes. They insisted on sleeping outdoors in 9 degree weather. They love to scratch around the yard. They did dig up the flower garden with lilies about half a dozen times, kicking the bulbs up to ten feet into the yard. I finally put some stove racks up against the house, sheltering the lilies from their foraging and scratching ways.

    I had four the first winter. I got at least two eggs each day, more often three and sometimes four eggs. They only slowed down their fourth winter. Right now, I have two hens and enough eggs to freeze them for the winter slump in egg laying.