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chicken weight loss program

 
pollinator
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Location: NorCal
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I seem to have enlisted myself in the chicken weight loss program, without even knowing it.  There are no membership dues, no monthly fees, and the bonus is the chickens are in heaven.  Last week I left the chickens out all day and didn't close the garden gate, and the chickens demolished my strawberry bed, so I thought oh well I have been wanting to try making a hugel type bed in my veggie garden any way, so I dug down, put wood, soil, wood chips and soil.  Lots of work, but hopefully worth it.  This week the chickens were out for a few hours unattended, but no worries, I shut the garden gate.  Later that evening I went to admire my pumpkins growing in my hugelkultur (not in the fenced garden area) to find it pretty much bare.  Unearthed pumpkins, and butternut squash, and the hugel down to the top layer of wood.  Where the H did all the soil and mulch go?  It seems to have disappeared.  Now I will need to go dig up some soil, because I can't afford to buy anything at this time, and once that is done cover it with mulch again.  Yes if the chickens have there way I should be healthy in no time. My sanity may be and issue, but I should be in better shape.  
 
pollinator
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Location: Scioto county, Ohio, USA - Zone 6b
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Jen Fulkerson wrote:I seem to have enlisted myself in the chicken weight loss program, without even knowing it.  There are no membership dues, no monthly fees, and the bonus is the chickens are in heaven.  Last week I left the chickens out all day and didn't close the garden gate, and the chickens demolished my strawberry bed, so I thought oh well I have been wanting to try making a hugel type bed in my veggie garden any way, so I dug down, put wood, soil, wood chips and soil.  Lots of work, but hopefully worth it.  This week the chickens were out for a few hours unattended, but no worries, I shut the garden gate.  Later that evening I went to admire my pumpkins growing in my hugelkultur (not in the fenced garden area) to find it pretty much bare.  Unearthed pumpkins, and butternut squash, and the hugel down to the top layer of wood.  Where the H did all the soil and mulch go?  It seems to have disappeared.  Now I will need to go dig up some soil, because I can't afford to buy anything at this time, and once that is done cover it with mulch again.  Yes if the chickens have there way I should be healthy in no time. My sanity may be and issue, but I should be in better shape.  



Unless you start seeing chickens that aren't there, I think you will be fine.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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It happened again.  I know I shut the door to the coop last night.  This evening I went to give my chickens food, and the door was open.  Lucky my garden gate was shut, but the hugel is destroyed again.  I just fixed it this weekend.  This time is even worse.  The vines are still there, but no leaves at all 0 totally gone.  All the decent sized pumpkins have holes in them.  No wounder the chickens didn't seem very hungry.  It is amazing how much they can destroy in one day.
New plan, the chicken coop is on the west side of an old horse coral.  It is a decent size.  I'm going to patch up the fence for the coral, and make a door to get in and out instead of just an opening.  That will give them more space then the coop, and lost of bugs, weeds, and my compost is in the corner, they can have at that.  Then my hugel and other gardens that aren't fenced will be safe.  
I will put the dirt back on my hugel again, and plant ?  Maybe some garlic, peas, lettuces, onions, maybe some clover as a chop and drop cover crop.  Any suggestions?
I'm doing my best to stay positive, but part of me feels like mother nature is telling my I'm not suppose to have a hugelkultur.  I was so proud of it and the pumpkins were doing super for a while there, then I hit a down hill spiral and it keeps going faster and faster.  If I can keep the destruction crew in there coop, maybe I can turn this around.
 
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