If we would engineer agriculture to work with nature then we would have a totally different world. Nature is a force that we cannot fight. Ignorant and greedy humans try to do it everyday. Much of the pollution in the world comes from Agriculture. This article is going to be about chickens. I see everything in agriculture through the lens of Permaculture. Chickens can play a very important roll in how we manage food waste and build organic matter in soil. If I had it my way everyone in the world would have a chicken as a pet. However, they are social creatures so a lone chicken is a lonely chicken and that’s not cool either.

Cherry Trees

A few years back I had a farm in Tarczyn, Poland. This region is pretty famous in Poland for apples and other orchard trees. While living on the property I had many meetings regarding water quality on the property and in the region. I was told by a government official that the region and aquifers are so polluted it would take more than 100 years to recover from pesticides and other chemicals.

One of my neighbors had a cherry orchard. It was a typical sight to see. The trees were all properly pruned, properly spaced and the trees had zero vegetation growing underneath them. One of the main reasons is that Cherry actually has a shallow root system and they compete with other plants (like grasses) for nutrients. That is why all orchards have bare soil beneath the trees. What orchards really need are chickens!

Chickens in the orchard? Yes. See the image below. I wish I knew where I found it. I have had it on a hard drive for years.

So one of the main advantages to having a chicken in your orchard is the fact that they lay waste to the grasses. They also reduce pests. 
Fly larvae in a cherry.
Rhagoletis cerasi – Cherry Fruit Fly

In the above image you can see the reality of organic cherries. Why? Let’s look at the life cycle of the Cherry Fruit Fly so we can see how to disrupt it. 

When the fly emerges from the ground in the spring they will be active for 7-10 days laying eggs in your cherries. One thing you can do is attract them to sticky papers traps. 

The second thing you can do is let the chickens after them! This will be after the damage is done though! One the larvae are ready they will emerge from the fruit and burrow into the ground to mature. This is where the chickens will hunt them, helping to end the cycle and reduce the pest right where they sleep! 

If you want to learn more about cherry flies click here
 

Michael Klepacz

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