Tiller Magic: Chickens in the Garden

You can let your chickens transform garden waste into compost right in your garden.
By Robert Bradford
April/May 2013

Let your chickens do the work of tilling your garden.
Photo By Fotolia/Vidady


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I read on the MOTHER EARTH NEWS website that you favor open-ended raised beds to allow easy access with a tiller. I also use open-ended (4-by-32-foot) fenced raised beds. My chickens till the compost in the beds for six months, and then I move them to the adjacent bed to till, weed, fertilize and remove insect pests.

Every six months, I close the “tilled” compost bed, plant it and call it a garden. At harvest time, I open the old garden for the chickens and pile grass clippings, leaves, old bedding from the deep-litter chicken coop, shredded paper and daily kitchen scraps 3 feet deep. In six months, it becomes a garden again. Maximum output, minimum input, and any weed seeds raised to the ideal planting depth become chicken feed.

Robert Bradford
Pineville, Missouri








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