The hens are enjoying the spring weather. Their run is muddy, but their hendome is nice and dry. The layer of hay and straw is about a foot or more thick, although in some places they have scratched down to the bare soil. We will leave the hendome up until late spring has dried the muddy ground. The dome has served very well over the winter as a warm, snug run for the girls. We will in future years use heavier plastic is this plastic tore easily, but it worked well enough this year. When we remove the dome, the thick layer of bedding will feed the compost piles and will serve to really get the compost cooking. The dome itself could be used in the garden to cover heat loving plants or as a nice warm place to raise baby chicks.
The hens are now brave enough to venture across the diminished snow pack to find bare ground and look for bugs. Any stray plant or weed is quickly devoured, and green treats from the house are relished this time of year. Sunday, while partaking of the fabulous weather, I noticed we had lots of chickweed in the garden. This is one weed I don’t mind. It goes dormant in the hot weather, but greens up early in the spring and late in the fall providing an excellent source of greens for the hens, who love it.
Another early spring green is sorrel. The hens love it and it is one of the earliest spring greens. Last year I planted some in the hoophouse, hoping for some early green Dan and I could enjoy and share with the hens. It is coming along nicely and might even provide enough leaves by the weekend for some soup, and a few leaves for the girls.
Spring is on the way. The nights are still cold but the days have been warm and what little snow we had is rapidly disappearing. I’ve started some sweet pepper and chile seeds, and will be starting some tomato seeds later in the month. Winter is on its way out, and I’m ready. I have a lot to do before summer arrives!