One of the benefits of living out in the country is being able to use what you have. Even though I’m over the long winters, I appreciate the changing seasons and the different things each brings.
Well, really, what does winter bring? It brings much more work and stress to a homesteader’s life- that’s what I think, but that’s not the point.
Fall brings us so many beautiful things, and with it comes free bedding. I started using our maple leaves and tossing them into the pig pen. They root up their area so quickly I’m constantly trying to keep them entertained.
It works well for any animal you may have on your homestead. I use it in the pig pen, the goat run, and the chicken coop.
It depends on how many leaves I feel like raking and transporting. So why should you try leaves for your chickens or animals? Well, let’s get to it.
Boredom Busters for Your Animals
If you’ve ever observed your chickens, you may have noticed that they spend much time scratching and pecking at the ground. Or if you have goats or sheep, they eat it when a leaf falls from the tree. This is where dried leaves come in handy.
They provide a great source of entertainment for your animals as they scratch and forage for bugs hidden in the leaves.
Not only does it keep your animals busy, but it also promotes natural behaviors that they would engage in if they were in the wild.
Helps with Boredom
Speaking of bugs, dried leaves also provide a natural source of protein for your animals to peck at and eat. Bugs are essential for the health of your animals, but they can sometimes be hard to come by in certain seasons.
Adding dried leaves to your animal enclosures provides a steady supply of bugs for your animals to snack on.
A Solution to Muddy Areas
If you’ve ever struggled with muddy areas in your animal enclosures, you know how frustrating it can be. Dried leaves can help with this problem by providing an absorbent surface that helps to soak up the excess water.
This is why I love putting it in the pig pens; the pen is pretty muddy and helps dry it up.
Not only does it reduce the muddy areas, but it also promotes the growth of grass and other plant life in the enclosure. The leaves will eventually break down and provide a natural source of compost for your soil.
What to Look Out for When Using Dried Leaves
While dried leaves are a great addition to your animal enclosures, some things must be remembered. First and foremost, ensure that the leaves are dry. Wet leaves will not break down as quickly and become slippery, causing your animals to walk on instead of scratching and pecking.
Additionally, avoid using leaves from plants that are toxic to your animals, such as oak leaves for goats. Constantly monitor your animal’s behavior to ensure they have no issues. I tend to rake up the maple leaves and use those; they love the dried leaves from the fruit trees, too.
It helps with Compost and Breaks Down.
One of the best things about using dried leaves in your homestead animal pens is that they make excellent compost. As the leaves break down, they add valuable nutrients to your compost pile, which you can use to fertilize your garden beds or orchard.
Plus, using leaves in this way is an excellent form of recycling. Instead of sending those leaves to a landfill, you’re making the most of a valuable resource by using them to benefit your animals and soil.
Dried leaves are a simple and natural solution to boredom, muddy areas, and bug control in animal enclosures. By providing entertainment for your animals and promoting natural behaviors, you ensure they’re happy and healthy.
Additionally, dried leaves help reduce muddy areas, provide a natural source of compost, and promote the growth of grass and other plant life growth. As with any addition to your animal enclosures, it’s essential to watch your animals and ensure they’re not eating too many leaves or walking on wet leaves.
So what are you waiting for? Get those dried leaves scooped up before the snow.