Chickens are amazing! Their daily activities of laying eggs, scratching and pooping contribute to life in my urban vegetable garden space. These feathered beings do some much, who knew! I certainly did not. I am a year into backyard chicken raising, initially it was intimidating but now I see it was one of the best decisions I made as a sustainable urban gardener. I find that chickens are better than a bag of organic MiracleGro fertilizer or any eggs I can get at the pancake house for breakfast. I write this blog piece to share all the benefits I receive from my flock of birds in my urban garden space.
Fresh Eggs, the “In-eggspensive” Choice
There is nothing like having fresh eggs in the morning. I like hearing the hens “sing” before lay an egg letting everyone know (humans and birds alike) they are about to provide incredible nutrition. My flock is made diverse breeds of fourteen birds ten of which lay so my daily harvest is of eggs contains different colors and sizes but they all provide a great food source. In addition, these chickens have contributed to the reduction in my food bill; the local grocery stores provide free range, non-GMO, non-antibiotic chicken eggs at $4.50 to $5.00 a dozen. I appreciate that grocery store option but not at that those prices, my appreciation goes to my chickens that provide better quality eggs paces from my back door- for LESS. Harvesting swiss chard and dino kale from my keyhole garden bed to go in fresh egg omelettes are a part of my morning routine.
Fertilizer and Compost: Odorifically Wonderful
Chicken poop is smelly but it is liquid gold for my vegetable crops. Because my chickens eat non GMO feed of grains and seeds along with food scraps of vegetable and fruits from my kitchen their feces is nutritious for my garden soil. It provides a source of side dressing compost for my tomatoes, brassica patch of collards and kale during the growing season; it also amends the soil at the end of harvest so the soil will be ready for planting the next spring. I have yet to spend money on a bag of fertilizer, harvesting their poop from DIY catching boards under their roosting bars provides an immediate source of manure. Collecting chicken poop is a smelly job but I do not mind when it gives a great medium for my soils and garden crops.
Insect Control: My Own Personal Orkin Squad
My chickens eat the unwanted bugs in my garden. The bugs are a source of food protein which turns into egg protein for me. When they scratch for them in the soil, it helps cultivate and turn the soil so I will not have to. I just drop seeds for the next crop. Chicken eating bugs are a great asset.
My chickens’ activities of eating bugs, giving eggs and providing compost make them great benefits in my urban vegetable garden.