It’s taken a while, with lots of trial and era to perfect this system in our garden.
Much gratitude to the odd rogue chicken or duck that doesn’t like to follow my well intended plans, they have given me a birds eye view and helped point out any cracks in my system. Turn the negative into a positive.
The main take aways I can share with you are:
Let your ducks or chickens into your veg garden at the end of the growing seasons to clean up any slugs and snails. Make sure there is nothing precious left in the ground, temporarily cover anything that your poultry can destroy and supervise them of course if they can’t be left unattended. At different times through the years Michael and Lil have joined me, it’s been a wonderful way to catch up at the end of the day. Outside, together, in the fresh air, slowing down after the school and work day.
Letting your poultry out into the garden about an hour before their bedtime will ensure that like clock work they will head back to their enclosures without much fuss to settle in for the night. Ducks and chickens really are creatures of habit. Let your poultry out into the garden in the morning or during the day and it will be a struggle to get them back into their designated yard, I liken it to hearding cats!
I am sure you won’t be surprised to know that Honeybee likes to stay out as late as possible, even though she has trouble seeing in the dark. We are her flock and she loves hanging out with us, these really are lovely day to day family memories. Our sweet duck really appreciates it when we turn the torch light on and light the pathway, guiding her as she waddles along back to her sleeping quarters! Note: Honeybee does like the torch light left on while she settles in, she will either hop in her bath or have a bedtime snack of duck pellets, a drink, then snuggle into her hutch.
Different things we do:
1.Walk around the garden with Honeybee most days for usually ten to twenty minutes. She snacks away on anything she can find as she drills her beak into the mulch and along the edges of the raised garden beds. Honeybee also has her own large garden where her pond is but letting her into the kitchen garden this way helps keep the slugs and snail population down.
This is made possible because we now have anything we don’t want this gorgeous duck eating, behind netting or fencing. Part of our garden renovations and thinking long term about food production has been to fence off different areas. eg. the herb garden, the raised garden beds near the french pear and the Hothouse garden, a productive garden for warmth loving veg next to the hothouse.
2.If we only have one crop in one garden bed finished we will temporarily fence this off with wood pickets and mesh. The mesh is too high for the chickens to jump over and we purposely don’t keep chickens who can jump high fences or are flighty and fly over the fence. We will put a couple of small hens in this fenced off garden bed in the mornings when we are outside and before the sun is too hot return them to the henhouse, therefor they aren’t outside in the baking heat without any shade. If you do this remember to put the hens water up a little off the ground to prevent them from flicking everything into their water bowl as they scratch about.
3. Fresh broccoli leaves and florets in the colander for dinner.
We pick the lower leaves and scrappy leaves for Honeybee and the hens. Keep the leaves off the ground, slugs and snails use them to climb up into the plant.
Until next time.
Winter 2022 Poultry & Pest Management.
June 7, 2022