Today was the day. I cleaned out the chicken coop. Now, I have to say, I clean the coop regularly, especially the areas under the roosts. A clean coop helps keep a healthy flock. Today, however, I really cleaned it. I stripped it down to the floor, hauling out several wheelbarrow loads of bedding and poo in the process.
Poop scooping detail is what made me dislike chickens as a kid. Today, however, armed with my own hardworking pint-sized crew, I rather enjoyed the work. It’s not as bad as I remember from childhood. As a matter of fact, it isn’t bad at all. It felt good.
Once we cleaned out the coop, my ‘crew’ and I sprinkled a light layer of food grade diatomaceous earth over everything—the floor, the corners, the nesting boxes, the roosts. This helps keep bugs at bay and is safe for everyone, animal and human alike. (However, when spreading it around, wear a mask and eye protection—it’s consistency is like very fine flour and will get all over everything. I ignored this advice the first time I used it and felt like I did a face plant it a sand dune the rest of the day. It took some time for my eyes to forgive me.)
After the DE, we added a nice layer of stall pellets. I love these little gems. They grow as they absorb moisture and help keep the coop smelling great for weeks. They’re also inexpensive and that one layer should last me all summer.
On top of the stall pellets, we spread a nice 3-inch layer of wood shavings. I LOVE the smell of wood shavings. I mean, I’m almost jealous of the girls sleeping quarters this evening. It just smells so good in there. Mmmmm.
And since it was all clean and nice smelling, I decided it was also a good time to fix the leaky roof by adding another support beam (it was sagging where the two roof board seams met and pooling there…not a fun problem to have in the rainy NW winter).
While we worked hard all afternoon, the girls enjoyed an extended recess out in the yard. Only Hattie got slightly annoyed. She had an egg to lay and we were disrupting her routine. But otherwise, a good day was had by all.
Sweet (smelling) Dreams, girls.
I’m sure we’re all going to sleep soundly tonight.