I am fascinated by lots of animals, but cutworms ain’t one of them! And one the great ways to get rid of cutworms in the veggie garden? CHICKENS!
Dad came over and plowed part of the garden yesterday. It is, after all, time to get the peas in. And the warm weather reminded me that last spring we had a great head start due to chickens in the garden before planting. They scratch up the soil looking for bugs and eat all sorts of weeds. Plus their fertilizer is some of the best stuff in the world!
The hens know the routine, but this was a new experience for Mr. Big, the rooster.
1. Open the chicken yard gate.
2. Pick up your herding stick–a 12′ bamboo pole.
3. Calmly walk all the way around the chickens and begin to slowly herd them toward the gate.
4. Watch for any of the birds looking in the wrong direction–it is likely to bolt! And once one is gone, they all prone to bolting. If one does bolt, calmly leave the larger group and herd the bolted bird back to the flock. Only then is it safe to continue.
5. Use the bamboo pole to create a backwards funnel, like a “V” (with you as the point). Try to lift the pole WAY UP in the air instead of swinging it over the birds’ heads. That’ll scatter ’em for sure!
6. On the final bit, walk them directly against the garden fence towards the gate. When they hit the gate, they’ll pop right in.
7. Close the door.
There are two ways to get the chickens back into the yard in the early evening:
1. Reverse all the steps in the chicken-yard-to-garden trip above, except interject every two points with a lot of blue streaks.
2. Open the garden- and chicken-yard gates and go back in the house. When the sun goes down, go out and close the gates. The chickens will be asleep in the hen house.