We have four lovely chickens and two ducks. Lately, I’ve noticed the chickens seem a little bored. The ducks spend most of the day happily swimming in the pond. I keep finding the chickens standing on the steps to the duck pond just looking in. I don’t expect the chickens to take up swimming. Instead, I made them a swing.
I’ve seen chicken swings on the web before and the design seemed simple enough for me to make. I found a branch about the diameter they like to perch on and long enough they could all sit on it at once. I simply tied some rope to each end of the branch and then tied the other end to a branch on the apple tree growing in their run.
The chickens paid no attention to the swing, so we put the “queen” chicken, Pearl, on the swing first. She is very calm and doesn’t seem to mind being handled. Pearl sat on the swing for a bit then jumped off. We put each of the other chickens on the swing one at a time. Pearl is the only one who will sit on it for any length of time. I believe they will warm up to it and I feel better that they have something else to do besides watching the ducks swim.
Why do my chickens always try to escape their run? They have a large roomy run complete with apple trees, grass, dust bath, compost pile and duck pond. I’m even in the process of building a chicken swing for them. Still they dig along the fence line, they push on the gate, they try to squeeze out any opening they can find. I found one chicken, Apple, laying eggs near the woodpile. She was guarding close to a dozen eggs. Another chicken, Clair, has a taste for the leeks in my garden. Pearl prefers the watermelon patch and Juniper loves hiding under the pine trees, go figure. They all end up standing at the back patio door – looking in. A true sign our chickens are pets. They really just want in the house with us.
I must be a hippie gardener. The straight lines and boundaries of some gardens seem so restrictive. I like a more relaxed approach. Something natural. More like the plants would grow if the seeds just fell to the ground.
I have garden chickens that work for me and they don’t even know it! I have three large garden plots and rotate the chicken run in each of them every year. Last years run had many large sunflowers growing in it. The chicken ate some of the seeds but many fell onto the ground. We’ve had a long wet, cold spring here making it hard to get seeds planted. Since the chicken run was move I planned on planting a 3 sisters garden. That is corn, beans and squash. These three plants grow well together.
Before I could even work the ground sunflowers started popping up. I just don’t have the heart to chop them down. From what I’ve read, sunflowers are friendly to the 3 sisters. The Hippie 4 Sisters Garden was born.
We scattered corn, beans and pumpkin seeds all around the sunflowers. There are no rows or hills. No rigid boundaries. It will be beautiful. I will take pictures. I can’t wait.