I don’t know whether I appreciate my chickens more for their eggs or for their winter garden maintenance.
I turned the girls out into the vegetable garden for the winter today, and was happy to see them rooting around for grass grubs, which were a serious problem this year, and eagerly grazing on weeds.
I used to injure myself every spring when it was time to clear the winter’s weeds and prepare the garden beds. Now I employ the chickens in the garden all winter, and my springtime bed preparation is a breeze (comparatively speaking, anyway).
They keep the weeds down and reduce the pest populations, and the love the rich foraging the garden offers, as their summer paddock is practically bare by now.
Of course, there’s always a risk—now and again the chickens will get into the winter crops—but the benefits are worth it.
The chickens think so, too.