Sunday, March 26, 2017

Chicken poop, and other matters

We've been busy in the rain.

We finished cleaning the chook shack. I lost count of the wheelbarrow loads of bedding – maybe 15? I moved the nest box and found this interesting mess behind it, below. Some of those guinea feathers in the lower layers were probably from Mrs. Davis and the three Connies, our first polka-dot birds. I was tempted to lay out a grid of strings, and excavate with trowel and paintbrush. Mind the Law of Superposition!

C. hiked down the hill and found these excellent squackly locust poles to use as roosts. They're nearly 12 feet long. Still to come is a droppings board or a poop hammock, I haven't decided which. Looking at the above photo, and considering that chickens really unload at night, you can imagine the poop under the roost. Since our coop is so small, chickens and chicken keepers often venture under the roosts, where they are apt to get pooped on. Hence the protective hammock or board.

Poop hammock and Lulu photo from

C. is often pooped on as she collects eggs and guinea feathers.

I also moved the feeders out from under the roosts. Duh.

There's a big controversy on poop management in Chicken World. Chicken World Central is, a popular website with information, forums, and everybody's photos of their chickens, coops, DIY chicken inventions and more. Some folks insist that poop should be allowed to run free – if we had a bigger coop, I'd agree. Then there are folks with fancy chicken houses and fancy poop boards and daily scooping routines. If Martha Stewart had chickens, she'd have a 1930s-green droppings board, and someone would be out there twice a day scooping and dusting. That's not how we roll, though. Chicken poop has to manage itself around here.

Speaking of chicken poop, there's a whole web page (with photos) about the subject here. Yes, it's probably too much information. But good chicken keepers keep an eye on the poop, as it's a clue to chicken health. And besides, it might be falling on you. OK – enough of the poop.

We moved the last of the flats of onions out to the greenhouse today, and I set up the rest of the grow lights and heat mats. C. will be starting peppers tomorrow, and tomatoes soon. She puttered around the garden, dug a bucketful of sun chokes (she says there are 10 – or 20 or 30 – more bucket loads that need to be dug before they start growing – bad news), weeded the strawberries and widened a bed or two.

We came in all tired and wet, built a big fire, and sipped hot coffee, cacao, cream and hazelnut amaretto. Mmm.

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