As I stood in the kitchen peeling apples to stew for The Little Fulla, I thought about the circle of life. Not as in The Lion King, but as in gardens and chickens and food. Being a keen gardener, I put food scraps, paper towels, garden waste and other decomposables (I decided that’s a word) into the compost, which in turn makes it back into the garden to help grow more food. It is a two-way system. But after a year of keeping chickens I realised I have a three-way system, which I have deemed The Circle of Life.
This occurred to me as I was thinking about the fact that I needed to fertilise my citrus trees as they come into fruiting season, but I couldn’t because the chickens have the run of the orchard. Then I had a ‘duh’ moment. In my old way of gardening I would fertilise the citrus trees with bagged citrus fertiliser so they were getting balanced nutrients. The ‘duh’ moment was when I realised the chickens are fertilising the whole ground under the orchard fruit trees with their poop. Times have changed. Sure, chicken poop may not have the correct NPK rating, but I’m sure it’s better than non-organic fertiliser for both the trees and the soil! One day I’ll get my fertiliser tea game on too. I have some comfrey plants, so that’s a start. When I clean the dirty bedding out of the chicken coop the wood shavings and poop also go onto the compost heap to contribute to the production of compost for the garden.
Another great thing about chickens is that I can feed them the leftovers from The Little Fulla’s baby food. I prepare all his food, so I know what’s in it, and the chickens get bits of meat, veges, fruit, brown rice, pasta and so forth in their treats bowl, as well as other approved kitchen scraps.
In summary, The Circle of Life goes like this:
- The chickens give us eggs to eat (and maybe one day meat).
- The chickens give us poop for the garden.
- The garden produces veges and fruit for us to eat.
- Food preparation produces scraps for the chickens to eat or for the compost.
- We make less waste.
What a happy little circle! Now I have The Circle of Life song stuck in my head and a great desire to pick up one of my chickens, hold it out in the Rafiki pose and sing: “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba!” I googled the lyrics. Obviously, I knew what they were singing. I just wanted to make sure. Luckily for the chickens, it is night time. Maybe in the morning…