I like the idea of a "chicken tractor" (movable, open-bottom chicken enclosure) however I am not interested in having chickens. I do have a bird feeder which I keep stocked with black oil sunflower seed, which attracts juncos, house finches, chickadees, sparrows, scrub jays, etc. One day I noticed that the ground under the tree closest to the feeder was covered with bird droppings, i.e. free fertilizer - and a light bulb went off in my head.
I have also noticed that I get a lot more birds if I scatter the seed on the ground, especially on some place with a lot of leaf litter or mulch. In the wild, birds have to scratch around in the litter to find food, so they seem to hang around a lot longer if they can do that in my yard. Also since the seed is spread out (vs. concentrated in one feeder), more birds can feed at the same time. Thus I now get probably 5 times the number of birds I had previously, all happily scratching and pooping wherever I put the seed.
Over the last several months I have been throwing the seed in places that I want the birds to fertilize and de-bug - apple tree guild, compost pile, etc. So far it seems to be working well.
I will of course get some sunflower plants sprouting up in these areas, but that is fine with me. I will probably just let them go to seed and collect the seed for use next winter. I'll probably get other seeds sprouting from the droppings (native and non-native) which is also fine as I am looking to grow more natives. I'll pull the non-natives.
I am wondering if anyone else specifically tries to attract wild birds to certain planting sites, and what were the results? Obviously a junco can never "till" the ground like a chicken could, but I am mostly interested in free organic fertilizer and a little insect removal.
My garden near the bird feeder gets pooped on enough to smell like a bird cage and make harvesting greens there hazardous, so I think one could get substantial fertilization near a feeder. Insect control will probably be in a wider area. I notice the poop zone is mostly between the fence/neighboring trees and the feeder, with not much poopage outside this narrow band. So a movable feeder is in order if one wants poop evenly distributed.
posted 8 years ago
Just finished watching the first two lectures from Prof Hooker at NC State (thread in the permaculture subforum). He visited a permaculturalist in New Zealand that had a T shaped perch he would move around the garden. When an area received enough droppings, he would move it to another patch. We are going to try it out!
The soil under the bird feeder at my parents house has about a 3-4ft diameter where there is absolutely no lawn growing. The doves just hang under there practically all day scratching and scratching and scratching, let alone when the turkeys come roaming through.
I also remember an old bird feeder hanging in a spot for atleast 10 years, and within the last 3 years it hasn't been there. There is still a 2ft diameter area that one could call a hole, since it is a lot lower than the rest of the area. No lawn growing there or any other plants, yet.
I've been wondering about this idea for a while too, but with a different animal in mind. We have lots of wild bunnies making lots of poop. Have been thinking about offering them some hay so that they would maybe poop in an area that could be scooped up easily?
Finch.J9b wrote: Just finished watching the first two lectures from Prof Hooker at NC State (thread in the permaculture subforum). He visited a permaculturalist in New Zealand that had a T shaped perch he would move around the garden. When an area received enough droppings, he would move it to another patch. We are going to try it out!
No feeder just a perch? Interesting, very interesting.
Location: Zone 8b: SW Washington
posted 8 years ago
Walk wrote: I've been wondering about this idea for a while too, but with a different animal in mind. We have lots of wild bunnies making lots of poop. Have been thinking about offering them some hay so that they would maybe poop in an area that could be scooped up easily?
We have wild rabbits as well, which for the most part I don't mind. They both mow the grass and fertilize it!
If your land is devoid of vegetation then you may be able to attract them to a certain spot, but I would guess that is not the case (otherwise you would not have rabbits). But it would be worth a try. I would put out some carrots & fresh cut tree branches (this time of year they like the bark). Actually I would put out all kinds of things and see what happens. I once had a rabbit hop up onto our porch and eat part of our sisal doormat! One of the strangest things I've seen.
posted 8 years ago
Yes, just a perch for them. We'll give that a try and see how it works.
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