We have a fairly simple division of labor on our farm: I manage the animals, and Mrs Yeoman Farmer manages the plants. MYF is usually very insistent that members of my “team” not intrude on and mess with her garden, and with good reason. Ever seen what happens when a dog discovers how nice it is to dig in freshly-tilled soil? Or when a flock of birds discovers bushes full of beautiful ripe tomatoes? We therefore built a tight fence around the garden, and patrol it diligently.
Then, this morning, MYF observed that our new mother hen was managing to squeeze through a tiny gap near the gate — and her chicks were easily following her. MYF was about to shoo the hen out, but then she thought more about it. There are no more seeds that could be scratched out or uncovered. There is no fruit yet. The green tomatoes are probably unappealing. The potatoes are safely buried underground. Why not let Henny Penny take her brood on a bug-hunting safari?
So we did. She seems especially interested in the potato portion of the garden, which has lots of little insects hopping all over it.
I’m not sure we want to release the rest of the flock into the garden; some plants would be sure to get trampled. But for now, it’s an awful lot of fun watching Henny Penny and her brood do “organic pest control” for us.