"Will they mow the lawn, too?" Vision of farm with a Chicken Tractor
We are now less than two weeks now from the scheduled closing date for our farm! WAHOOOO!
Jim and I are taking different approaches to the farming life.
I am pretty much focused on the horse part: where the fences will go, where we'll store hay before the barn is built, how soon I can move the horses onto our property, where the trail access points on the mountain are located, how I can build more access points and more trails. I'm wondering how many fence posts I can pound in an hour before work, and how much field fencing I can string in the time between arriving home from work and completely and utter darkness.
Jim is more of a generalist. He really wants a tractor, and he really wants chickens. Not coincidentally, he really wants a Chicken Tractor, which I originally thought had a lot to do with tractors and less to do with chickens.
Turns out that it's just the opposite: a Chicken Tractor is bottomless, movable chicken pen. It's also an extremely low-tech way to clear ground for the garden and it's mostly all about feeding and entertaining a small flock of hens.
The size and design of Chicken Tractors is widely varied--they are mostly made from found or extremely cheap materials which are nailed, screwed, or stapled together to form a basic shelter for chickens.
Chickens living inside the Chicken Tractor do what chickens do best: they eat grubs, bugs, slugs, grass and weeds, they scratch up the ground as they search for food, and they produce a high-nitrogen fertilizer (chicken poop) that garden plants love.
After a day or two of clearing, cleaning, and fertilizing a small patch of the future garden, the Chicken Tractor is dragged a few feet away and the chickens proceed to clear the next small patch. All this is accomplished without noise, pollution, or the danger of running over an inattentive gardener's foot with a tiller blade. Genius!
As the hens get older, they will begin laying eggs. I love this part. Drag the tractor, collect the eggs, plant the garden. It's all in a day's work, and coming really soon to Haiku Farm.