Hi there from Geoff again, long time no see! Wanna know something else that’s awesome about keeping chickens in your backyard? It’s the garden ecosystem it creates!
Now that you have your DIY chicken feeder, (you did make this, right?) you’ve probably noticed that wild birds hang around to pick up any scraps left behind by your chickens. However, the birds leave behind the “food dust” that’s just too small to even bother trying to eat. But where does this food dust go to? It’s there in the evening but gone in the morning…
I’d recommend going out into the garden with a flashlight after dark!
First off, we have the snails. They are attracted to the smell of the food dust and come crawling out from their hiding places. You can usually see them if it’s been raining. We have around 5 or 6 large snails in our garden, the largest being Mrs Torquington (pictured).
Along with the snails, we have a variety of insects that are also attracted to the food dust. If you were to venture into the garden you would see crickets, cockroaches and beetles munching on the delicious food dust.
Before you screw up your face and say, “ewww” consider this for a moment. The snails and insects are attracted to the dust. This means that they prefer the dust to your plants. So having them all congregate on one section of the garden is beneficial to your veggie garden!
Another benefit to having the invertebrate army in one spot is that predators are also attracted. This is also beneficial to the garden as they love to eat all those crunchy / slimy things that come out after dark.
My favorite predator is Reginald the Cane Toad. He can be seen stalking the garden almost every night. His favorite spot is to sit right under the chicken feeder and wait for the food to come to him.
During the day we have predatory birds, perching up in the tree just waiting for anything to poke it’s head out of the undergrowth. My two favorite birds are the Red vented Bulbul and the Indian Mynah, both beautiful animals! The insects also attract a variety of lizards including anoles and geckos! The anoles can be seen chilling out, upside-down on the tree, puffing out their colorful throat fans!
Having chickens is awesome, you already know that. But if you take the time to sit and watch from a chicken’s perspective, you really do see a whole new world. If you don’t have a chicken, buy some food dust anyway and enjoy your garden ecosystem!