LIFE IS BETTER WITH CHICKENS — Paula and Jim Pescha stand under a garden arch with one of their hens. The Peschas have tried to live a more waste-conscious lifestyle since retirement, and chickens have been a vital part of that.

Jim and Paula Pescha have a double lot in Deltona, which is about a half-acre. The co-founders of Deltona Community Gardens have made it a goal to have a zero-waste sustainable lifestyle.

Chickens, which are super trendy right now, are part of their long-term green lifestyle. There’s nothing trendy about them when it comes to the amount of good they do.

“My wife and I have been very big into a healthy, sustainable lifestyle, and chickens became a part of that,” Jim Pescha said.

The couple has a large garden, and fruit trees. Pescha said their garden provides a large part of the vegetables they eat.

“We are very environmentally conscious,” Pescha said. This, he said, is where chickens come in.

“Chickens became a big part of our garden recycling,” he said.

The symbiotic process of chicken-food-waste-food helps the Peschas maintain their lifestyle.

By feeding the chickens yard waste, garden scraps and food waste, they are working toward their zero-waste goal. No vegetation goes to the landfill, it’s all used to feed chickens, who in turn, provide pest control, fertilizer and pruning. They eliminate the need for pesticides. They also produce high-protein eggs.

“The garden feeds the chickens,” he said. “And the chickens feed the garden.”

IN OR OUT — Jim Pescha works in his gardens as his chickens look on. Pescha said his garden beds are well-pruned
by his chickens. While they are excellent at pest control, and good at pruning, they will eat your garden, he warned. You have to fence them in or out.

You do have to watch those pruning skills, though.

“Chickens will eat it,” Pescha said. “Chickens will eat your garden. You have to either fence them in or fence them out of the garden.”

Pescha fences his gardens from the chickens, but they do prune all the areas around the fencing.

“All of my garden beds are nice and pruned!”

Anything the chickens don’t eat goes into a worm bed, and the casings are also used in the garden.

Pescha is convinced that what you eat is what you are, and food that is clean, with no pesticides, is more healthful. He believes his green lifestyle contributes to his health and well-being. “We eat eggs four to five times a week,” Pescha said. “I’m in my upper 70s, and I’m on no medicine.”

Pescha said he thinks the world has gotten too far away from what people eat.

Paula Pescha echoed that, for example, “Kids think food comes from Publix,” she said.

As for the chicken fad sweeping backyards?

“Any animal is a responsibility,” he said. “There is work and responsibility to owning an animal.”

Jim Pescha believes that anyone interested in caring for a chicken should get one, if it’s allowable. Not only is it good for people, but it’s also good for the environment. And, he said, chickens are entertaining: “They really become part of the family.”

Paula Pescha agreed. “They are so entertaining, we call it Chicken TV,” she said. “We sit on the back patio and watch the girls.”


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