Turns out the tiny mystery chicken that made itself at home with our flock is a hen and doing her best to earn her keep by laying some adorably tiny eggs.
Gaucho the Magnificent Bantam Rooster died in March of 2023 at age 15. He passed peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his hens, Buffy, Bad Buff, and Wynona.
Alexander rode an elephant; Caesar a gold chariot. Napoleon preferred a stallion. Gaucho, Chicken Emperor of the Acre, likes a wheelbarrow loaded with compost.
That's no simple pile of dirt! That's a mound of super rich, composted chicken manure and straw "bricks" to recharge the spent beds in the vegetable garden.
Tomato skins and bolted lettuce may not be a the top of your list when it comes to lunch, but for the ducks and chickens it's a five star meal.
My new hugelskultur garden is proving to be more complicated than I thought. Not because the garden is hard, but because the chickens won't get out of the way.
We didn't get hens for eggs originally. But now that inflation has driven the cost of store-bought eggs so high, we're saving about $70 a year by having them.
In winter we open the vegetable garden to the poultry. The chickens have already cleaned the artichoke beds and are taking a dust bath and fertilizer break before moving on.
We waste very little food thanks to our chickens. For example, here are Gaucho, Buffy and Summer with a fresh summer salad of overgrown zucchini and cucumbers.
I find it quite reassuring that once I'm done shifting compost from one bit to the other, there's an inspection crew standing by to make sure I did it right.