Thinking Outside the Box
This is a great discussion topic. We have four horses, and each horse produces about 50 pounds of manure per day, or over eight tons per year, resulting in huge piles of waste. Composting is an excellent manure management technique, with many benefits; the process itself reduces the size of our manure pile by about 50 percent. The heat generated by composting kills worm eggs, fly larvae, pathogens, weeds, reduces flies, runoff and odors, and is an extremely valuable addition to the pastures, gardens and yard. In the large garden we grow most of our own veggies, including 50 tomato plants alone each year. The difference in the growth of our veggies and flowers with added manure is astonishing, and it’s an absolute win for our family.
I have been a serious animal lover since I was a child; I have always been concerned with the welfare of all animals. As I grew up, I worked with over 30 horses, had many dogs and many cats, as well as ducks and chickens. From this experience, I realized that one of the best things I could do for my family and I, was to bring my children up around animals. I believe it is important for children to understand the importance of kindness to all, and that includes animals. One of the best examples of this is teaching them to run their own free-range egg business. As a result, my children – and their friends who visit – can see that even a chicken thrives better with care and respect. They sell the eggs from their 25 free-range chickens. It’s their business so they do all the work, and they collect all the money. The chickens are content, and create the most delicious eggs – happy eggs! The chickens also eat all our food leftovers from the day.
In terms of manure, there is nothing more desirable for the vegetable garden than chicken manure. Mixing it with the horse manure makes for the best gardening. Gardening is a great way for us to eat healthy, and for the kids to grow up understanding how to grow their own veggies without having to use pesticides. We don’t need to worry about what has been added to our veggies or what has happened to our chickens, they are all under our sole care. It’s important to me to raise respectful children who can think creatively about how to take care of the environment. I believe raising children with an awareness of how to care for the space around them, in the best way they can, is the change needed for the world.
Image: a few of our chickens eating bugs on our lawn.