Chicken Chores Around The Farm?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dragonshiner, May 7, 2008.

  1. dragonshiner

    dragonshiner Songster

    Mar 20, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    Okay I want my poultry to be earning thier keep. They already lay eggs and will eventually be made in to dinner(some of them). But I'd like them to help out around the farm as well.
    I just got some ducklings and am going to be raising them to forage for weeds in our garden, and of course my guineas are hopefully going to make war upon the local tick population.
    The chickens though I'd like some more ideas for. I've heard of the chicken tractor and would like to build a smaller version. A Chicken Lawnmower if you will. Just something big enough for a small amount of chickens that I could put out in the areas of the yard where we don't intend to grow anything. The goal being to have them shorten the grass each day leaving me with less to mow. But I don't want them to totally dig up the patch that they're on either. If I put a wire floor on it would that make it possible? My fiancee is telling me it's impossible and that I should abandon the idea, and I'm head set on proving him wrong.

    Are there other chores that I could set my poultry out to do around the farm?
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I dunno, my experience with the chickens in a tractor is that while they will certainly de-thatch the grass really well (if allowed to scratch, i.e. no wire bottom), and frankly they thin out the grass too (if left too long, you get sparse grass with lotsa dirt in between), they do not really mow it all that well. That is, eventually the grass in the tractored area does get shorter, but only after it has gotten largely bald first [​IMG]

    Geese might mow better, I dunno, since I think they are basically totally herbivorous. Chickens prefer to scratch around for yummy things [​IMG]

    I will say that the areas my tractor passed over last summer DO look slightly but noticeably greener this spring.

    If I were smart, I might run the chickens over weedy parts, let them get things somewhat bald, then follow them with hand-seeding and a light mulch. Only problem is that the time of year when it's good for overseeding lawn AND warm enough for the girls to be in my tractor is a pretty narrow wedge of time. And I dunno as I'm that organized [​IMG]

    (edited to add: I'm not a farm, but the two other things chickens do around here is turn kitchen scraps into something useful i.e. eggs, and produce blessedly weed-seed-free compost for the garden)

    Last edited: May 7, 2008

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