Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shoveling out.....the coop

Nice days often equal outdoor clean-up jobs.  After my morning chores yesterday, I spent an hour or more cleaning out the chicken coop.  THIS is dirty work.  It's stinky work, dusty work, sweaty work.  It is the kind of work that I wouldn't ask anyone to do......unless it was my kids and they were in need of harsh punishment.  In all honesty though, the kids have helped me clean the coop because they were being kind, very kind, to their mother. 
Inside the coop there was an entire winter's worth of straw bedding and poop layered on the floor, smelling of ammonia and that indescribable chicken coop smell that anyone who has been inside one knows, but all is clean and fresh now.  When I say the chicken coop is clean, that does not mean clean as in Mr. Clean and Scrubbing Bubbles clean, but it means that as much shtuff as is possible to be pitchforked and scooped up with a shovel has been removed from the dirt floor.  It means that I washed the windows to let more light in for the girls, and it means that I tucked some clean, fluffy, grass hay into the nesting boxes.  I sprinkled wood shavings on the floor and underneath the roost which gave the coop a fresh pine smell, but it is still just a chicken coop which is nothing much to brag about unless you have a fancy coop like some backyard coops I've seen online.  Check this one  and this one.  If you Google "fancy chicken coop" images, you will be amazed at what's out there in Chicken Coopdom.

When summer comes, I will do a more thorough coop cleaning.  I'll take the fire truck (a small 300 gallon sprayer we use on prairie fires) and hose down the walls with some disinfectant.  This too is a dirty, messy job where I end up soaking wet with very dirty water.  Spraying the coop down requires a very hot day so the inside will dry out quickly.  Soon I'll  lay down some Permectin (garden powder) in the places where the hens take their dust baths.  It'll help keep the bugs off them. 
I used to think that my chickens couldn't care less whether their residence was clean or not, but after my little shoveling-out yesterday, I see evidence of their satisfaction.  Inside the coop there are little holes where the hens have scratched up the dirt floor to make dust baths for themselves.  They have happily (I assume) laid their eggs in the soft nests and have increased the number of eggs for me to gather.  All signs of happy hens!
Lots of baby calves being born day after day.  Look at this cutie pie bucking and playing!

9 comments:

  1. I always learn so much from you. The picture of your pitchfork reminds me of the one I have hanging in my garage. It belonged to my Grandmother who passed away over 20 years ago. She had a farm until I was born. When she passed I asked for her pitchfork, as I was so used to seeing her out in the gardens and wanted to remember her on the farm. Thank you for bringing that memory back to me. I love the dear little calf. Looks like it has a lot of energy! Be blessed!

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  2. I certainly do not envy you!!! That is hard work!!! At least the days can be gorgeous!!

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  3. You are such a good caretaker of the Lords little creatures...but he loves you for that...as well as the chickens. Darling, happy new baby calf! :D

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  4. Yuckk, what a NOT fun job. I hope you rewarded yourself at the end xoxox Clarice

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  5. I remember when we would clean the hog barn. We would lock the hogs outside, haul out he manure, put down new straw, and let them back in. They were like kids....digging in the straw, tossing it up with their snouts, making new beds. Dad always said they were "happy". It made cleaning it worth it just to watch them.....Dad was right, they were "happy".

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  6. Sewn with Grace,
    I'm glad that my little bloggie post conjured up a sweet memory of your grandma.

    Catherine,
    I am convinced the animals love fresh, clean bedding and the little bit of TLC we give them.

    Jody

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  7. So interesting Jodi! Chicken coops look like a lot of work, but with fresh eggs as a payoff, it sure seems like it's worth it!

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  8. Your coop looks much like ours. Dear husband cleaned out the coop two week's ago now - I have done it as well. You are right - a stinky dirty job, but it has to be done. It is a wonderful feeling, though, when it is done and there is fresh hay all around.
    We love our girls (hens) on our homestead.
    Warm wishes and joy, Tonya

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  9. So funny as I just cleaned out my coop today also. I had a rabbit in with my ladies all winter, and man could I tell! Much more nasty than it ever has been in the spring. Am I glad that job is done for now!
    Kate
    PS- and I would love one of those beautiful coops, it's never going to happen though!!!

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