Written by Katie Sisk

    BAWKtoberfest 2017 Coops Picture Gallery 1
    BAWKtoberfest 2017 Picture Gallery 2

    Are chickens a first step to self-reliance? Everyone already knows that hens lay eggs and eggs are a great source of food. However, chickens can help with food production in many more ways than simply making eggs. In fact, chickens can play a bigger role in gardens than some might realize.

    Chickens have nitrogen-rich manure and a love for scratching everything, two elements that, together, make the perfect conditions for creating compost! Compost is an essential element for a prosperous garden. It is the result of decomposition of natural material into a balance of carbon, nitrogen, and other nutrients that plants need to thrive—and chickens help speed this process along. Where compost would typically be turned manually, compost material can be placed directly into the chickens’ run. There, chickens will turn and shred the uneaten material themselves as well as return what they have eaten back into the soil. Also, the compost attracts beneficial bugs such as earthworms that are helpful for the garden, or redworms that are a protein-rich treat for the chickens. When the decomposition process for the compost is finished, gardeners can harvest it from the chicken run and place it in the garden and watch their plants grow.

    In other words, chickens are one of the gateways to gardening prosperity, and with that comes self-reliance. The compost they help create makes the foundation for a thriving garden where fruits and vegetables, along with eggs, can come from your backyard to your table.