I mentioned yesterday that we had our chickens out in the yard this weekend while we were making the transition from the mess of winter to spring.
Branches that had fallen from ice storms were picked up and leaves too stubborn to release during last fall, but had finally decided to let go were raked. Of course, all this raking and moving opened up a whole world of yummy goodness for our birds.
Our hens foraged for hours and stuffed themselves on bugs, worms, and, in one particular bird’s (Charlie) case, the remnants of a sandwich inadvertently left at chicken level.
Marc and I took on the task of digging out the enclosed coop area. In the winter we don’t do anything other than keep adding wood chips to the henhouse and yard. This, of course means that in the spring when we do finally attend to this task, we have to dig out close to a foot of compressed, decomposing food, poop, and chicken waste.
It’s got the kind of smell where you can’t help but wrinkle your nose, quickly turn away, and screech “yeee-woooh, that’s potent!” To say the least, mucking out the chicken yard is not one of my favorite tasks.
But it needs to get done and in this case, the sooner, you do it, the better.
Half of the waste, we put near our compost pile to be used in future gardens and lawn projects, and the other half we put in the corner of the fenced in area when our chickens stay during the day. This organic waste is filled with bugs and grain making it excellent material for the chickens to scratch and peck through. It’s a veritable playground for the hens to romp in.
And I’m sure that once the warm sun hits it and dries it up a bit, the smell will become much more bearable and we can soon go back to eating our dinners outside again.
At least, I hope so.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.