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Friday, March 9, 2012

The Chicken Destructo-mobile

I have both chickens and ducks in movable "Chicken tractors", and chickens are just way more destructive in working over the ground and eating all the grass and weeds.   Neither chickens or ducks actually eat moss, but the chickens really like to rip it all out in piles and make holes.
This is a triangular run from a design on the internet.  It has been fortified with metal covering, barbed wire, etc. to make it predator proof.  It is really too small for a couple of active chickens, and very hard to put food and water dishes of any size in it.  But it is a very secure design for protection from raccoons and dogs, both of which have killed poultry in our yard in the past.  That happened in our larger run occupied now by our four ducks.  The bent pipe at the bottom was too light, it has been filled with concrete and weighed down with a weight and the water bucket, and wrapped on the bottom with barbed wire.  The house has been covered with metal and metal corners and has wire instead of twine holding the fencing onto the house.  It is roomy but the ducks don't like the wire floor or being indoors so they are out in even the coldest nights.   They are much tougher than chickens, and better layers of what I consider better quality eggs, though not everyone likes them better.  Their webbed feet are not as suited to scratching so they can't rip the moss out of the ground as well or dig holes as well as the chickens, though if the ground is wet they can stick their beaks in and make a nice mud hole.  Fun girls.
The product of all that scratching and industry is piles of moss which have been well fertilized, and various holes that must be filled in at some point.   I like to use mole hills for that, all that nice soft worked-up soil in convenient piles.
We have been having fantastic weather that seems very like Spring!  The bright sunshine has lured me out to rake up moss and spread it on one of my garden areas.   I had to remove spent squash and cucumber vines, and pull long nails out of last year's pole bean rows, used to protect the bean stems and roots from voles tunneling up from below.  I will continue to put on moss and leaves until all the grass and weeds are under cover, then when it gets time to plant some new seeds or starts I will be using my mattock to remove any remaining weeds before planting.

Enjoy the fantastic weather, what a lovely full moon tonight! It is positively mesmerizing... Plant!  Plant! Plant!

Your Humble Plant Slave, Hannah

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