Country Lore: Chickens Rock!

Chickens may have saved my family’s life. A few years ago, we moved onto a farm on a beautiful meadow with a lot of rocks. I used to love the idea of rocks in my yard until I learned that rocks meant rattlesnakes.

Our first year, we had eight rattlesnakes near the house. I have a little girl and was quite concerned; I even thought we might have to move. We purchased 12 chickens that summer. The next year, we had no rattlesnakes around the house even though our neighbors still did. I figured out this was due to the chickens, which were very active, scratching every inch of ground in a one-acre area at least twice a day.

Besides helping with the snake problem, chickens do many other jobs for us. They work all day laying eggs and eating pests, especially earwigs and fly larvae, in the goat and cow manure. The chickens go to bed at night by themselves, and the rooster is an excellent alarm clock. They are the best ranch workers I’ve ever had.

Mila Johansen
Penn Valley
, California