Putting Pigs and Chickens to Work Clearing Land


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Pinky, Red, and the unfinished pig cabana with a comfy mattress. Photo by Jo deVries

In an article in the Ottawa Citizen on October 31, 2020, titled “Vineyard Menagerie”, I read about the various animals used to help out in vineyards around the world. It tells of a winery in California where sheep munch the weeds, while donkeys and Spanish mastiffs ward off coyotes and mountain lions. Owls deal with the destructive gophers, and chickens scratch the earth and devour bugs.

In Patagonia, some growers keep armadillos to eat the aggressive ants that damage the vines and leaves. Some winegrowers are experimenting with non-venomous serpents to help restrain the population of rodents. In South Africa, ducks forage through the rows of vines looking for the invasive white dune snails. Napa wineries use falcons to ward off hungry birds, especially aggressive starlings.

Horse, mule and oxen driven farm equipment is found around the globe. In some countries, donkeys and camels are depended on, to carry heavy loads over difficult terrain. Many times, the decision to use animals to work on the farm is a financial one. Sometimes there is simply no other option. Occasionally, it is a firm ecological choice.



Putting Chickens to Work Preparing their Coop Area

In some cases, the animal is being raised for another purpose — the fact that they can be put to work, is a bonus. I am wanting to add an outdoor addition to my chicken coop. The area behind my coop needs to be excavated down to the solid rock. I decided to put up a temporary fence of chicken wire around the area, and let my chickens have a go.

They are getting the job started, scratching up the earth, exposing rocks and digging up small roots, while eating the greens and insects. These chickens are beneficial for many reasons. They provide offspring to sell as chicks, a beautiful selection of colourful eggs, and quality meat.  They eat insects, and now they’re working the land. I’m all for getting them to work for their keep; raising chickens isn’t cheap these days. I can buy a cooked chicken from the grocery store for less than half the price it takes to raise one.  nd besides, many feet make light work.





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