Three Lessons I learned from keeping chickens at our Organic Oasis

grandkids in the chicken pen at Mike's Green Garden

The Grandkids feeding the chickens with Grumpa at Mike’s Green Garden

For years I stayed out of the chicken pen. I couldn’t handle them being cooped up. And IDK, it was just something I didn’t really have anything to do with. But after I finally convinced Mike to let the chickens out the back of the pen into the forest during the day, I got to know the chickens. And as most people do I fell in love with them.

But I have since come to realize a couple of things, one they have one of the nicest pens of any chickens anywhere. We have these bushes in there that provide nice shade, they are safe and protected and they have a nice home to go in at night. The rooster, is free to come and go and sleeps in a tree. He’s been sleeping there for 3-4 years IDK how long? It’s a pine tree kind of close to the house? Right above the fence.

Garden Damage Myth

He has not done any damage to the garden. I grew sunflowers, broccoli, tomatoes, lots of herbs, zucchinis, cucumbers, eggplants, zinnias, buckwheat. It all grew just fine. Spinach, lettuce. And truth be told, he could get in the miniFarm – knock on wood – if he wanted, it’s the same exact size as the fence he jumps out.

Rooster

Of course he doesn’t jump back in either. We have seen him on top of the chicken house roof, and along the fence but he never jumps back in, he always makes me open the door for him.

OK The bonus! The EGGS!!!

There is nothing like the taste of fresh eggs. Once you have them you can’t hardly imagine eating store eggs and if you see one of those movies about how commercial poultry is produced well that will do it for you for sure too!

 

 

Eggs2008.JPG

 

There are days I want to go vegan. But I am not sure that is the best thing for the planet because my chickens lay eggs locally. Did you know chickens lay eggs whether you have a rooster or not and if they are not fertilized they are not going to make a new chicken anyway. As a matter of fact I wish my hens would lay eggs and we could produce chicks.

I would rather Mr. Beyer ate chicken that came from our place and he could just eat the males. That way we would grow our brood and always have chickens but that has never worked for us. For a long time we didn’t have a rooster and our chickens still produced an egg every single day. And have you ever heard a chicken lay and egg! They get so excited! They squawk and flap their wings doing a sort of dance. You know! It’s fun to hear and they do it every day!

This year with Mike’s Mini-Farm we have so much extra kale and swiss chard I feel like they must be healthier eggs because they kind of look at me each night like hey where’s our fresh grub. It will be sad when winter comes and I don’t have fresh greens for them. My friend Eve grows fresh sprouts for her chickens. She produces a gallon of fresh alfalfa sprouts like every day or so and she lives on top of a mountain. (She also makes the best fresh mozzarella cheese you ever tasted.)

TurkeyEggs

These eggs came from a turkey we had for a short while. Which leads me to the biggest lesson I learned. Chickens need protection. We have lost so much livestock here in the woods. The pens actually keep them quite safe. So I warn you if you get chickens or any kind of livestock be prepared to have a strong pen for them at night and a covered fence during the day and maybe a guard animal or two.

But the benefits are amazing. I love our chickens and especially the rooster. He will always have a place in my heart.

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One thought on “Three Lessons I learned from keeping chickens at our Organic Oasis

  1. Not all of them damage the garden. My little araucana hens did not venture into vegetation that was higher than they were, and they were short. the Rhode Island reds were reasonably docile to vegetation. Yet, the neighbors’ hens are downright hateful to any vegetation within their reach. If the pears are not picked quickly enough, one of the hens gets into the tree and knocks them out! What a B!

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