This week was pretty uneventful in the yard. We had beautiful weather but we just played in it. We didn’t do much planting or yard work.
My lettuce had been coming along fabulously and then I noticed a couple days ago that something was eating it. In fact, I was missing entire heads of lettuce from my line-up. I immediately blamed the neighborhood bunnies. . .because it couldn’t possibly be my dear chickens. . .
Say what? I couldn’t believe it! I caught them red handed. Those turkeys. . .I mean chickens. I better come up with a way to keep them out of the garden because I don’t want to watch them 24/7 while they free range in the back. And although I love them, that’s my lettuce! I didn’t really have any problems last year, so this is new to me. More to come on this, I guess.
Last weekend we took advantage of the beautiful weather to clean out the chicken coop. We’ve had the coop for almost a year (in June) and
we my husband cleans the coop out an almost daily basis – scooping poop and changing shavings. But last Sunday we did a massive cleaning, the kind you really only have to do once a year. We basically took everything out, washed everything down, made some repairs and got it just like new!
We removed all the shavings and dirt from the very bottom of the coop. This is amazing compost material. It goes into a big compost pile with grass clippings and other green materials. Then this winter we will mix it into our raised beds so it can enrich the dirt. As for the bottom of the coop, we wanted to start fresh. I used a leaf blower and we blew along the edges of the entire coop. We used a broom and cleaned out all the corners.
This is the inside of our hen house! We cleaned out all the shavings. Usually it’s full of shaving since this is where the girls sleep. We added a new roost inside the coop and you can see the nesting boxes off to the left.
Once we removed all the shavings we used a leaf blower to get out cob webs and dust from the crevices. Then I used a bucket of hot water and wiped down the linoleum in the hen house. Yes, we have linoleum in there. We found an extra box in the garage (from the previous owners) when we built the coop and it is soooo easy to clean up. A bucket of hot soapy water and it looks practically brand new!
Right now we have five laying hens and two nesting boxes. As our babies get older and if we have 9 or 10 laying hens we should probably build more nesting boxes. There is a door behind the nesting boxes that allows up to open it up from the outside and grab the eggs.
Even after a year with the chicken coop there is zero smell. I’ve been surprised. I mean there is poop. Lots of poop when you have so many chickens, but we do a basic pick up on a daily basis with a little scoop (just like you would for your dogs) and we toss it into the compost. It’s like it’s on little eco-system with the compost. There is lots of circulation and ventilation. And we have a good roof, so it keeps things from getting wet and rotting.
We added our baby chicks to the coop last Sunday. We put them in this make-shift coop that I made from an IKEA shelf! It’s working like a charm. The big hens are getting used to the babies, the babies are roosting in the little coop (yay!) and during the day they all roam around the yard together. There is still some squawking and bullying as the chicks work out their pecking order, but I think it’s going splendidly.
And this is Girly. She is broody right now. This means she doesn’t want to move out of the nesting box. She thinks she’s hatching an egg, so she doesn’t want to move. The problem is our chickens only like to use one nesting box – and she’s holding it up. They squabble and they push Girly out so they can lay. It’s funny, actually. Hopefully she’ll stop being broody soon. She was not happy that we kicked her out so we could clean her coop.
What’s going on in your yard this week?