Were you to read the press, chickens are the best new thing in gardening. Don't believe them! What chickens are good for is moth & grub control, manure production, and utter destruction of plant matter.
Last weekend I started the chicks on a ten week mission to destroy the weeds currently growing in the walled garden. This mission also fulfilled the need to move them to a larger, more interesting, run. Despite being no larger than an American robin, they have already accomplished the task in their small pen and are ready to move on to the next level.
Next up will be a patch of Japanese iris that needs to be removed. These are a lovely plant if you want something that blooms to take over a degraded slope without need to water a lot. Unfortunately, they are poised to take over a quarter of this space. Japanese iris are also notoriously difficult to eradicate... But the hens are capable of the work!
As the girls complete the harder work, I will be following behind to dig up Dutch iris and daylillies that are not in appropriate locations. (Under bushes and trees, mostly.) These will be potted up or "heeled in" to a garden bed until we are ready to put them in their final locations... After we get a chicken / dog fence built.
As the babies move off one section and onto another I will be laying on the litter from the big girls' coop to feed the remaining trees and bushes to rebuild the soil, which is heavy and malnourished.
In random order, the pictures are: the newly barren run, fast moving chicks, and the doomed iris bed.