The stories, travails, mistakes, successes; the journey of a change in lifestyle for two would-be market farmers and permaculturists.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I thought the poultry worked for US

One of the idealistic visions we had was for our poultry to do some of our work for us.  I find little tantalizing tidbits in articles and books, like.... Geese will weed your strawberries......Chickens can till your garden soil...little gems like that.  Wow, that sounds like the perfect solution.  Enslave the animals, let them do our work, then eat them or their children!!  But, things that sound too good to be true, well, you know the story...

As it turns out, so far, we are the ones doing the work.  The chickens have proven to be pretty easy for the most part.  There are aggravations, but nothing compared to the turkeys and geese.  A large chunk of my time goes into babysitting this particular little terrorist group.  This morning I sat out near the garden journaling while I babysat their morning foraging tour.  (Well, sometimes they forage.  They are locked up in a double size dog kennel at night, and you would think that they would like to get out and eat grass and bugs and such when they are let out.  Sometimes that happens, but most often, they are just into trouble.)

We have finally been able to get into the raised bed gardens and get them weeded.  The awful heat, humidity and ensuing hordes of mosquitoes kept us from being able to keep things up like we would have liked.  As part of that project, I have been digging up a bed that has been used for "temporary" perennial plantings.  Good to finally get that going, and it gives me more to sell at the farmer's market.  We had taken down the fencing to make it easier to get to, plus in my still naive way, I thought maybe the poultry would get in and help a bit.  AHA The turkey goosies find this fascinating.  While I journal, I keep a good eye on their activities.  The chickens had been in there a bit scratching, and it didn't look like they were doing any harm.  8 big birds is a completely different story.  As I watched, the geese waddled over and started to pull at the grass in the strawberries.  Yay!!  until they trampled the strawberries with their big webbed feet, and pulled up the stawberries with the grass.  The turkeys were immediately drawn to the dirt that was exposed in the old perennial bed.  WOO HOO!  What a perfect dust bath.

Ahh, a bath feels good in the morning


All I could do was just smile and watch until I had to move on to other chores.  At least I wasn't chasing them all over and arguing with them about being on the roof of the house.  I got out the camera to document things and after the fact discovered that the lens was smudged.  So, these little photos and movie are not as clear as I would have liked.  Notice what the geese are doing in the little video clip.  The one thing that I have learned is to get the animals to do your work for you, they have to be contained in a small enough area at an appropriate age, and matched to the job you need.  Seems simple in theory, but not in practice, at least for us.  When I FINALLY get the original goose and turkey story done, I will explore this further.

 

Ok, we don't really enslave any animals around here.  Here is the little group after being put into their enclosure under the fruit trees, where they actually are doing some work for us, adding fertility, eating bugs and weeds, and enjoying themselves sunning and bathing.  

Just a day by the pool

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