Monday, February 3, 2014

Letting Animals Do The Work...

One of the many good things I've experienced about farming over the years is how gratifying it can be to let animals participate in farm work.  It saves us the back breaking labor it would take to pull the weeds, lowers our fertilizer bill, and makes the animals very happy. 

In January, as we do most winters, we move the geese and ducks into the fields or trellis areas where vegetables grew over the summer/fall.  Most areas that don't have crops growing have either clover or rye planted as our cover crop, along with a few weeds.  Their job -eat, poop, and lay eggs!  We simply take two lengths of electric fencing (328 ft) to enclose the area we want serviced and move them in. 

During this time, we will benefit from a weed free or nearly weed free field.  As the geese eat the weeds, the ducks will also drill into the ground, eating larvae and grubs that would be future pests during the spring and summer.  It's a win-win!

In this picture, the ducks and geese are in an area that we had tomatoes growing over the summer. They'll be in this area for about a week or so and during that time, they will clear out all of the weeds and deposit plenty of manure.  Once they move on to a new paddock, the manure will have time to rest and get broken down into the soil before we plant this area in mid-spring.  

Another benefit - beautiful orange yolks from the eggs we collect!  Delish!

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