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7542Re: Chickens???

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  • basjoos
    Apr 27, 2008
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      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Ben Weiss" <bazzrad@...> wrote:
      > My understanding of chickens in a natural system is incredibly basic!
      > Can you recommend to me any specific breeds that are good for a
      > garden? How can I prevent the chickens from eating our produce? I
      > just read briefly about creating a "forage garden" for the chickens...
      > know anything about this? Should they have a specific enclosure and be
      > released at certain times? Any advice on a good egg-laying breed?... a
      > low-maintenance breed?
      > Thanks!
      > Ben

      In "One Straw Revolution", Fukuoka-san mentions that Japanese farmers
      used to keep a breed of chicken that was safe to keep in the vegetable
      garden. It would eat the insects and leave the crop plants alone. I'm
      wondering if this breed was the "shamo" chickens that he had running
      loose in his orchard/vegetable garden. The shamo is a very small
      bantam chicken.

      In the book "Farmers of Fourty Centuries" where the author describes
      the agricultural system in China circa 1900 (a very good read if you
      are into composting, as he describes the techniques used by the Chinese
      to keep their fields fertile after up to 4000 years of cultivation), he
      mentions that the sheep, goats, and cattle in the parts of China that
      he visited (the densely populated coastal regions) don't eat the crop
      plants even if they get pushed off the narrow paths and into a crop
      field by other traffic and confine their grazing to grasses and plants
      in non-crop fields. I suspect this behavior is the result of centuries
      of culling those animals that would help themselves to the crop when
      given the opportunity. So it may also be true that Chinese chicken and
      duck breeds have this trait (if they haven't been kept and non-
      selectively bred in this country for long enough to have lost it).

      It might be worthwhile testing some Japanese chicken breeds such as
      shamo, kurokashiwa, and tomaru, and Chinese breeds such as langshan,
      brahma, and nanking, to see if they show a propensity toward eating
      vegetable plants if given the opportunity.
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