At dusk yesterday we moved the chicken tractor from one end of our muddy valley to the other, so the bachelor boys could clean up the veggie garden. Usually it’s tidy and mostly planted by now, but it was a hard winter. Spring is six weeks late and even in our zone 8 valley, we are only now able to work the soggy soil. A situation that is all too common across Canada this year.

Since the garden isn’t netted, K rigged up a roofed retreat with some extra plastic fencing so our chicken tillers can stay safe from aerial predators. Today the big chickens spent much of their day hiding inside the tractor. Not because the hawks were out, but because they aren’t used to their new neighbourhood.

The “secret field”, named by K as a small child, is long and thin and fenced by a profusion of hawthorns and willows, alders and wild roses, blackberries, and even an old apple tree. It is cozy and green with just a narrow slice of sky. Across the creek from the main coops, it’s a handy place to keep the tractor full of boys separate and close. The veggie garden is in the middle of the NW field, which is at least three times as wide.

This afternoon, I scattered some flatted corn, and they finally stayed out and started doing some tilling. I’m not convinced they will be as efficient and thorough at discing and harrowing as my hens are, time will tell.