Friday, July 8, 2011

Controlled weeds

You wanna know a little secret? I kinda like weeds. I'll explain.

We have a lot of birds. I started counting yesterday but they run around alot. In the chicken coop we have 23 -25 layers and one very cocky rooster. For turkeys, we currently have one hen, two toms, and 7 chicks (is a baby turkey called a chick?). We have two ducks and two geese and approximately 100 heavy breeds that we're raising for meat. On top of the birds, we have two rabbits and two goats which have pretty much become pets along with the horse and mule. Then we have the sheep and our calves.

That's a whole lotta mouths and beaks to feed.

But they love weeds. Really love weeds. The horse, mule and sheep will line up at the fence when I'm mowing the orchard because I mow so everything on the last pass gets blown into the pasture. Or else we rake the grass clippings and throw them into the pasture.

And the garden I use a system called controlled weeding. Yeah, I totally just made that up. But it works cuz weeds grow fast and if they're going to weed, I'm going to make them purposeful.

We plant our garden rows wide enough so we can pass the tiller down most of the rows. This leaves weeding close to the plants and then in between the tomatoes and green peppers and the potatoe mounds that I have to weed (mainly because I still haven't mulched them).

So the farmer tills between the rows periodically and every night at the end of chores I go out to the garden and pick a row for weeding. And it gets feed to the birds, rabbits, or goats or thrown into the pasture.

And they love it. The rabbits will run to the front of their cages and wait for me to open the lid, the chickens all line up at the fence on the outside run, and the goats start ninnying as soon as they see their pile. The horse and mule stand at the fence while I weed.

So if you have animals and get frustrated by all your weeds, change your mindset and start thinking of them as ruffage for your animals.  :)  If you don't have animals and get frustrated by your weeds, bring them to me, my animals will love you!

This isn't my garden, it's the turkeys that come to the door in the morning. I'm not sure what they're looking for but the two toms will stand and peek at the door until you chase them away. The hens and chicks just eat weeds outta that flower bed.
Bonus - you can "train" your birds to go after certain weeds. They get used to eating certain weeds and go find them since they have a taste for them. Our turkeys, ducks and geese wander freely because they don't eat my plants anymore. When I let the chickens run around the farm, we put a fence around the garden first.



  1. Great idea! I've got more than my fair share of weeds. Tomorrow I'll see what the chickens think of them.

  2. What a buffet of greens for your chickens! ;) This is definitely a great idea.

  3. We have TONS of weeds around here. Thankfully my brother had it all fenced off when we moved in so our goats take care of most of them.

  4. The thing that grows the most in my garden is chickweed. It could totally take over if I didn't stay on top of it. My chickens, and turkeys have learned when I come out to the garden, they get treats. They all come to the fence and basically beg for their weed treats!

  5. What a neat idea! I don't have any animals yet, but I will one day. I'll have to remember this. Thanks!