The last of the tomatoes have been picked and eaten, and now it's time to let our chickens do their work. Elaine and I have been letting our four birds through the garden gate to search for any pests that remain where our tomatoes, onions, squash, and zukes once grew.
And we have been very pleased with the labor of Ruby, Tallulah, Spotty, and Dot. They have mowed down the weeds and we frequently see them scratching up some insect to consume.
Followers of our blogs may note the omission of Violet. Last May, our late rooster Little Jerry crippled one of Violet's legs during his overzealous mating. A number of times we removed Violet from the flock so that her leg could heal, but it never quite did. Meanwhile, Violet plunged to the bottom of the pecking order because of her infirmity.
The first thing the other four hens would do, when they were let out of the coop, was to maul poor Violet. Predictably, she took to remaining in the hen house or hiding under it, and she stopped laying eggs.