We raise both a flock of chickens and a flock of ducks. We collect eggs every day that the chickens lay as well as use their bedding and manure in our compost. The chickens are important to our seasonal cycle in that they clean up much of the pests and harmful insects in our orchard and garden. We have over 25 chickens including Amerucuanas, Australorps, Orpingtons, and more. As far as the ducks, they are especially vital for their role of slug control. They forage and eat many of the snails and slugs that eat our delicate seedlings and greens. Additionally, we collect their eggs and enjoy their funny personalities. We built a duck house that floats in the pond so that the ducks can lay and have night protection.
Around our garden, you will see many high-raised birdhouses. In the spring, tree swallows migrate from Mexico and the southern states all the way to our farm and take residence in the houses. The sound of exuberant tree swallows is the sign of the real first day of spring. Every birdhouse fills up in the spring with a couple, who mate, make a nest from material on the farm, and raise fledglings. During the growing season, the swallows feast on insects and flies that hover over the garden. When we are working in the garden and we bat away insects, the swallows swoop down by our head and grab the insect that was bothering us. In late summer, you notice an air of silence on the farm, which indicates the tree swallows have left to migrate south. And the cycle continues every year.