We owe our organic yard to chickens. Prior to owning pet hens, we used pesticides on our lawn and garden in hopes of attaining an immaculate lawn. Lured by labels promising to “kill on contact,” and “eliminate all bugs” we attacked weeds and pests with a vengeance. We even hired a lawn care company to spray even more unpronounceable chemicals on a monthly basis, unconcerned by their warning to “keep children and pets off the grass for several hours until the product dried.”
Since garden pesticides and weed killers are widely available in garden centers, hardware stores and grocery stores, we assumed they were safe. We sprayed to kill mosquitoes, aphids, and mites, unintentionally destroying beneficial insects like ladybugs, fireflies, spiders, butterflies and bees.
Our ignorance ended once Sadie, Wilma, Elsie, Boogie and Gretchen clucked their way into our hearts. While researching how to raise chickens, we learned that pesticides are extremely hazardous to birds because they eat grass and bugs. Additionally, pesticides contribute to storm water waste, which flows directly into the James River, polluting our source of drinking water. Once fully aware of the hazards pesticides pose to humans, domestic animals, birds, fish and other wildlife, we changed our lawn care regimen. Hand-weeding, horticultural oils, vinegar and homemade sprays became our weapons of choice against garden invaders.
Like so many other homeowners, we’d placed a higher premium on golf-course looking grass over protecting the environment. Thanks to our feathered-friends, we changed our gardening practices. Even if you are hen-less, take a moment to consider what you are putting on your garden. All of God’s creatures, down to the tiniest ladybug, will thank you.
Take a moment to meet the chickens and learn more about pesticide-free Healthy Yards.