Last week, just before I got the gumption to clean up my backyard, I cleaned up the chicken's backyard. Because again ... apparently their backyard had been struck by looters. And really weird looters. The kind who don't take anything, they just make everything messy, probably jump around in their underwear for a while, and then leave.
The chickens don't care either way. Right here they were actually talking about the mess in a conversation that went something like this:
"Hey Mabel, have you noticed the mess?"
"Not really Cheez Whiz, things look fine to me. Wait! Unless you were talking about Josephine's new tail feather. In which case, R I D I C U L O U S."
"Hey do you mind if I peck at your eyeball?"
"Not at all."
Having decided I couldn't leave a clean up decision to a group of animals that peck at each other's eyeballs and look straight at you while they poop in their water, I took it upon myself to decide it was time for the chicken coop's Spring Clean Up.
To fool myself into thinking this job was going to be a fun job, I dragged out my fun pants.
Even though chickens love dirt, there's a distinction between dirt and dirty. Dirt is good for chickens, they bathe in it to cool down and get rid of mites.
Poopy dirty is bad. Dirty chicken water, roosting areas and nesting boxes can lead to disease, respiratory problems for the hens and neighbours throwing rotten goldfish at you. Or whatever stinkfest they can chuck at you in a friendly "Your coop is gross and you'd better clean it up" gesture.
IF YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE CHICKENS YOU HAVE TO DO A SPRING CLEANING
The first thing I did was pull down the plexiglass I had covering the coop to keep the winter wind and snow out. I find the best way to do this is to walk in a very unnatural, knock-kneed way. Yes it's definitely best to do it that way.
This is the time to add all that winter poop and straw to the composter. Now that the weather is a bit warmer, it'll turn into compost in no time just by adding a bit of water to it.
I hot compost my straw and chicken manure into good, useable compost in less than 30 days just by adding a bit of water to it. It's good shit.
At least twice a year I completely scrub and bleach my waterers, then add a splash of cider vinegar to them when I fill them up again. I'm not totally sure of why I do this, but rumour has it it's good for the chickens. I have no proof of this other than reading crap on the Internet. If you don't want to use bleach just disinfect with white vinegar instead.
Hey! See my clear hose wrapped around something hanging off the fence? It's a bucket. It's one of my favourite DIYs ever.
Want a galvanized bucket to keep your chicken scratch or birdseed in? It's technically an ash can. Get it here.
"Hey Mabel. Do you notice anything different around here?"
"Huh? No. Wait! Unless you're talking about Karen's red pants. Are you talking about her red pants? In which case ... R I D I C U L O U S."
Man, even the gates to your coop/run are cool... Our coop was thrown together with scrap wood and it's cool and all (the chickens like it) but it's not pretty. We've only had chickens since February and I think it's already time for a spring cleaning. They really do poop a lot. Indiscriminately.
I just love your chickens. I have no intention of raising any chickens myself, but love your chickens just the same.
love the look of your coop
I love your chicken updates. Your girls are looking great. Adorable scratch bucket (ash can) with the lid! I got the cutest metal scoop from Premier1, it's like your scoop except the handle bends backwards to make it easier to scoop down in a bucket, and it can hang from the side of the bucket. It's so handy now I want one for my bulk kitchen ingredients, too.
Must be a real adventure but its looking great. Hopefully the chickens love the clean coop.
What do you put in your dust bath bin? I am getting my pullets in a few weeks and would like to try that strategy. Thanks!
Hi Lindsay! I used to put regular dry garden soil mixed with a bit of Diatomaceous Earth, but there's some controversy over D.E. now so I'm stopping with it until I learn more. Right now I'm using dry, dry garden soil, any leftover dry potting soil I have and play sand. The chickens love it. Have fun with your pullets! ~ karen!
Those galvanized bins are great for a bunch of uses around a property. I used one when I had dogs, to collect poo bags after pickup or after a walk (I hate those in the house, blech.) On trash day, I'd dump them into a bigger bag of house trash, and walk it all to the big bin. (I live in an area that requires double bagged pet waste.)