Alternatively titled: Reasons you should keep a chook or ten
Chickens eat your scraps. All of them. They don’t care what it is. Just don’t give them avocado or the other things on this list. There will be no such thing as throwing away food if you have half a dozen chickens in your backyard.
They turn your scraps into nitrogen-rich fertiliser. It’s pretty potent poo so I’d recommend putting it into your compost to break down rather than straight onto your garden. If you’re using paper or straw for bedding you can put that into your compost at the same time.
Chooks will weed your garden for you. Let them out into the garden and pull up a chair. Enjoy a quiet afternoon in the sun with one eye on the hens to make sure they don’t eat anything you don’t want them to (that is anything you want to end up on your plate). Your feathered friends will scratch at the topsoil, loosening it and removing (eating) the weeds, saving you the time and energy of doing it yourself. They may even deposit some of that lovely fertiliser directly onto your garden for you 😉
All of that eating and sunshine will give you lots of delicious eggs! Of course this saves you loads of money because freerange eggs are expensive. So technically your scraps and weeds just turned into money. You’ve also eliminated any ethical issues with eating eggs because you KNOW your hens are happy and healthy.
Even the shells aren’t waste! Crush them and use them. You can put them on the garden around your seedlings to keep slugs and snails away from your plants. Better yet, feed them back to your chickens as shell grit. The shells are hard because of the calcium in them. Feeding the shells back to the chickens ensures they are getting enough calcium in their diet to KEEP laying eggs with strong shells. The rough texture of the shells also helps to break up the food in their crop because they don’t have teeth to do the job. This is also why chickens eat rocks…not because they are crazy birds.
See how helpful these birds are! They also make lovely pets. Chicken antics can keep me occupied for an unreasonable amount of time *blush* and they are easy enough for kids to look after.
Do you have other ideas for employing chickens for waste reduction in your household?