As you can see from the main photo, there’s nothing a chicken loves so much as a freshly turned flower bed.
With a lot of help from the Community Payback team we cleared a lot of the overgrown beds yesterday. This always seems to happen at this time of year – it’s too wet to go on the clay soil without damaging what’s left of the structure, then suddenly we are full of weeds.
We had six pairs of blackbirds on the allotment at one time, all enjoying fresh food sources. The Jackdaws and Pied Wagtails arrived a little later and the robin had a go too. Then the chickens arrived. They can move a lot of earth when they start scratching.
That was why we used to feed a “scratch feed” back in the days I was a poultryman keeping birds on deep litter. It was considered old-fashioned in the 70s but I learnt the business off a man who had worked in poultry before the war, so we did a lot of things the old way. We also used to get excellent results, and it’s possible that the two things are linked. There are nutritional and behavioural benefits to throwing grain on the floor (despite the presence of specialist “scratch feeds” on the web, all you need to do is throw grain on the floor).
Anyway, back to the point – if you throw grain on the floor in a deep litter shed they will scratch the litter, which will stop it caking on top in damp weather, and will enhance the the composting effect.
I haven’t put a link to the term on the web because it turned up several pages of rubbish – there are even poultry keepers who feed “scratch” (as they call it) in feeders. Where is the “scratch” in that?
Putting grain in feeders to give the birds a choice of grain or layer ration is called choice feeding, but I think I may already have delivered more poultry-related content than most people want.
The only other thing of note for Friday was that the touch pad on my lap top has stopped working. I checked I hadn’t accidentally disabled it, and I hadn’t. Looks like I may have accidentally disabled it in another way, such as when I dropped it. Fortunately I have a wireless mouse as a back up.