About a week ago Kevin and I moved the laying hens across the farm.  We moved them to the area where our winter squash was recently harvested out of.  At times we use the chickens like this to eat up bugs and grass and clean up and re-fertilize an area where we have had vegetables growing.  We find that the chickens are very beneficial to our vegetable operation.  We can move them around; graze them on cover crops and more.  In the late season we have struggled with stink bugs decimating all of our plants in the cucurbit family.  This includes cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash and winter squash.  We harvested our winter squash just in time before the stink bugs really had a field day eating the fruits.  They also enjoy eating the bottom of the stem of a very healthy looking cucumber plant so that it dies just in time before producing any fruit.  You might gather that I am not a huge fan of these guys.  Anyway, we moved the chickens over to the area where the squash was planted hoping to move them through the field and have them eat grass and bugs.  Today, after giving them some fresh water, Kevin and I were standing watching the chickens as they went after all the stink bugs which are all over the place in this field. We don’t know if the chickens will make a big difference at all but it is always interesting to see them go to work and to see, in small ways, the benefits of being a diversified farm.  We will keep you updated if the chickens eat all the stink bugs.  That would be a miracle.  As we were leaving the field I picked up a stunted watermelon that will never be able to ripen that was outside of the fence.  It, being just one fruit was covered in probably 50-75 stink bugs.  I picked it up gently and threw it in with the chickens.

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