Since we can’t restock with poultry at the moment, we are trying to make the best of being hen-less and growing lots on the patio. Hens are great, but as soon as you want to grow something they eat it all if they can get near!
The weekend after Naughty Mr Fox ate his chickens, Gabe and I popped along to the garden center and picked up some flowers, tomato seedlings, and compost to go with the various salad leaf seeds I already had. The good weather this last month has meant they are thriving.
Some of the salad leaves are nearly ready to pick – we used some cut and come again varieties – the tomatoes are flowering and a few fruits have now appeared, and the flowers certainly cheer up the garden with their bright colouring.
Gabe keeps calling them his vegetable “pets” and is taking great pride in watering and looking after them – even if I do often get sprayed with the hose whilst he waters!
Protecting Vegetables From Poultry
Chickens in particular can decimate a veg plot, especially when new seedlings. Really the only way to protect them is cage off the vegetable area, or net off the individual plants. You need a good clearance on netting as they will peck through it otherwise and take off the tops.
When I was growing a lot in the garden and keeping poultry I found a system of rotation worked really well though. Keeping your flock in a moveable run and moving them to the area cleared of veg lets them dig over, fertilise, and eat and slug eggs lurking in the ground. The area is then great for the next growing season. It saves on weeding too, the less work the better for me!
Summer Poultry Jobs
With poultry it is a good idea to keep on top of jobs during the Summer, especially the cleaning out. I often find the houses need cleaning twice a week instead of the once as the poop soon starts to smell in warmer weather.
Another important thing is to keep on top of flies and larvae. This can become quite a problem is you have a contained run. I always used Stalosan F as not only does it absorb amonia smells, it is a great disinfectant – that is poultry safe – and it kills fly larvae stopping the cycle.
If you already have a fly problem then these Red Top Fly Traps are amazing! I used to keep one at the end of the duck run every summer, and you’ll be amazed how well they work. The only thing I would say is keep them away from the house as they do pong a bit, so end of run is perfect to draw flies away and stop the smell wafting to your home.