|Chickens. To have or not to have, that is the question.|
Riley tells me that in addition to eggs, meat, and guano, the birds could earn their keep by eating insects and seeds in the garden and by turning green areas into desert. Have you seen the movie Chicken Run? The lead hen laments never having felt grass under her feet. She doesn't mention that this is because chickens dig up anything green, either to eat or to search for something to eat. I get "irritated" at the thought of birds tearing up my carefully planned projects. But there is this big section of the bull pen garden that I want defoliated. I'm planning on using a shovel, like I have with the rest of my projects, but Riley insists on giving chickens a trial.
So there you see them, chickens in the bull pen, "borrowed" from a relative to see if they can do the job. At a minimum, I'm hoping they'll find and eat overwintering tomato worms. Riley made sure I noticed too when he saw them dining on lamb's quarter seeds, I cannot really imagine them getting rid of the brambles and poke weed, let alone the quack grass. Naturally, at the moment, they're not doing anything. Well, sure, it's night, but even this afternoon, they did nothing. Could be they don't like the several inches of snow on the ground. Riley claims they'll have plenty of opportunity for destruction come spring. We'll see. But, frankly, I think they'll have to have the garden plowed and ready to plant before I'll change my mind.
Notice Sam watching the birds from the other side of the fence? Sam's intense interest reminds Riley of why his family "got rid" of chickens when he was a child. The dogs got them all. Nice imagery (not!) and yet another source of stress in dealing with dog/bird relationships.