Hard Working Chickens

Everyone assumes hard working chickens refers to egg laying. My hens do lay their share of eggs. But that is not what I mean.

Once the summer gardens are done, they need to be cleared of dead vines and plants and weeds. This means hard work on my part. I get plenty of help.

My chickens are now allowed in two sections of the gardens. These have only tomatoes and okra in them. After killing frost, they are a treat for the chickens.

When I move in to clear a section, it is a real treat for the chickens. These hard working chickens cluster around me ready to do their share of the work.

Demanding hard working chickens
This is the head hen. She gets first dibs on any tidbit I turn up. She is presently disgusted at my taking a break and refused to look at the camera, threatened to peck it if I stooped down and resorted to pulling shoestrings to encourage me to get back to work.

At this point we have a disagreement. The purpose of this work for the chickens is to uncover earthworms and other tasty treats. The purpose for me is to pull out the grass, mallow and other weeds.

We compromise. I lift the ground with the potato fork and pull out the weeds. This breaks up the soil revealing earthworms.

Working on my own I tend to work in rows. This way I finish the entire section quickly.

The hard working chickens know nothing about organizing the work. They cluster in and start digging as soon as I loosen the soil.

one of the hard working chickens
Working with the hens is challenging. This Speckled Sussex is working on the area i was working on. She is one of four who insisted on scratching up the dirt where I was trying to dig. I moved. They moved to the new area a few minutes later. It had to be better, if I moved.

After a few passes, so many chickens are digging around my feet I have to move to another area. The process then begins again.

One of the Speckled Sussex is evidently top hen. She lays claim to wherever I am working and gets first choice of anything I turn up. Other chickens are encouraged to move over with a well placed peck.

The other hens don’t mind too much. This hen moves with me so she in on top of where I am pulling. Lower hens move in behind me and find plenty when they scratch up the loose soil.

Eventually the entire garden section is done. I think it is, but I may have missed some weeds buried by my hard working chickens. They are happy and ready to help with the next section.