Tell us about raising chickens and gardening. How do they go hand-in-hand or compliment one another? We didn’t realize till we were in the mists of growing the garden & raising the baby chicks last year how much we benefit by doing both! We put hay in their run as well as pine shavings in the coop nesting boxes to make the hens more comfortable while laying. We used the “chicken poo hay” to till into the garden area in May. That was a good four months of chicken poo being built up on average in the winter months. It’s pretty gross to clean out, but the most amazing organic fertilizer you will ever use! Not to mention, by May of last year all eight hens were laying beautiful brown eggs. We haven’t bought eggs since!!!
When preparing the garden area the chickens love to help till & free-range the area by foraging for bugs. They are constantly eating bugs in the yard, not just the garden! I love the bugs being gone! The hens devour the left over garden scrap that seems to be never-ending in the summer and fall months when harvesting.
My 6 year little boy broke it down best, “We feed the chickens, they poo in the hay, we put it in the garden, we grow food for us and them!” What else can be said, raising chickens brings the most amazing positive energy to our home! We will forever be urban chicken farmers!! It’s the best way in my opinion to garden!
What have you been most successful growing so far on the farm? Last year, was our first “big” garden! Meaning, it was the first time we had a space big enough to put in something other then a couple tomato plants & half dead pepper plants. I went crazy trying to plant everything possible with no garden plan & made some beginner gardener mistakes! With that being said, our tomatoes did incredible last year! We had such an abundance of tomatoes I didn’t know what to do with all of them. We are still using the canned spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, salsa, & a special sweet cooking sauce I made in September for family dinners at home. I couldn’t have been happier with the amount of produce we received in only a few short months from our tomato plants. Tomatoes are a favorite on the Urban Mann Farm!
When we had our hen house in Florida we free ranged our chickens and your right, no bugs! Also the yolks were bright orange and the eggs tasted much better.