Saturday, October 17, 2009

October garden and the trouble with chickens.

Welp, it's official, summer's over.
We had a huge storm last week...rain, rain, rain. And it was ugly as far as the chickens were concerned. U-G-L-Y. The rain flowed right into their "run" making it a muddy mess. Chris put a pallet in there...something for them to stand on other than mud...and we realized today that mold grew under it. Then...Chris was cleaning out the coop and found many, many maggots in the muddy, chicken poop-y mess. It was almost more than I could handle. This wasn't what I signed up for.
I ended up making a run to the feed store..."two bags of pine shavings, please". Chris piled it in their coop and on the floor of their run. Ahhh...much better. After some discussion we decided that next year, we're going to move their coop to the space on the other side of the shed. Right now it's a place to practice pitching baseballs. But as soon as baseball season is's a chicken run. And we'll just fence it off with metal stakes and chicken wire...just like the garden...and then they'll have plenty of space to peck and scratch without having full run of the yard. I'm guessing around 150 sq. ft. or so. They are just too destructive and too messy. It's best to keep them contained. We learned the hard way.
Until then, we've decided that when we let them out to range, we'll guide them directly to the that it's empty. It'll be perfect. They can scratch to their hearts content and poop all they want. It will only be good for the garden next spring. Win-win.
Speaking of the garden...I took this picture this afternoon.

On the left...dead beans. I have to yank yesterday. In the middle there...the bright green...those are peppers that are still producing. We think we'll get one more batch of salsa out of them! Off to the right, at the top, are the tomato plants that Chris yanked today. They'll be compost next spring.
It's kind of sad, isn't it? The garden in autumn? Empty. Dead. So much life coming to an end... But...on the bright side...there's hope for what's to come. Another spring. Another beginning. Another garden. Who'da thought I'd actually be looking forward to summer? Is it time for catalogs yet?


The Cottage Comtesse said...

In regards to the chickens... been there, done that. I can totally sympathize. I didn't get the mold, but did get the mud, melting snow, puddles, etc. They wrecked the yard and patio furniture. So much for free range! Ah, but they will be happy chickens in their new run when it is done. Sounds like you've got a great plan.

aubryz said...

Do a winter garden! We're using pvc and plastic sheeting from the home improvement store. We won't grow as much as summer does, but broccoli, spinach and salad greens sure are nice in the winter. And if you put heavy boards or rocks on the draped plastic, the chickens can still enjoy most of the garden without disturbing your plants.

Anonymous said...

oh, I could not agree with you more. I cannot tell you how much our chickens have "ruined" our backyard. I try not to get upset but everywhere I look they have left their mark! YET, I do love them. We too need a better solution. Thankfully, we have all winter to think about it. Right now my chicks are having fun in the garden. They better enjoy it now!!

Nancy said...

Sounds like you're having to 'chicken proof' your yard...kind of like kids, huh?

Beegirl said...

Remember that bag of chicken I left in my car for a few days in the ninety degree heat? Well I tossed it in the trash (also in the 90 degree heat) and went out a few days later to throw out the kitchen trash and found the can FULL to the RIM with maggots. I about threw up in the bushes. Makes me sick thinking about it. Hope you got your run all fixed. We use sand, then compost it into the garden. Have to change it out that I think about it.

Yes, how about some winter beds? You can make little hoop beds with thin PVC pipe scraps and plastic covering..

Anonymous said...

So glad, I'm letting you all learn about this whole chicken process before I delve in.