Chicken clean out

The weekend is the time I set to clean out the chooks. I tend to hand pick out the large poops from the coop’s removable ground tray over the course of the week and throw them on to the manure pile that is gradually building up – the best manure for the veggie patch, so I hear! The weekend clean out is everything left in the tray which goes into the compost bin (a mix of saw dust donated by our next door neighbour who wood turns regularly, and their poop that escaped the weekly hand-picking session). Check this link out for a chicken-owners guide to composting. The chicken coop wood shavings and poop mix contains phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen (in the poop) and carbon (in the shavings). When water is added the ingredients are all there to produce a good compost, though I also add some lime, blood and bone powder and grass cuttings. For a good organic composting technique check out Lila’s page here. Then a good scrub down inside with a mix of ecover washing up liquid and a splash of organic red mite concentrate made by Barrier, so that the wood inside the coop gets a good douse regularly of anti-red mite goodness. With the coop nice and clean inside, the wood shavings are replaced with good dust-free shavings (dust can cause respiratory problems) and a handful of lavender leaves (in the winter) or flowers (in the summer) are crushed and scattered over the sawdust to help them sleep at night and keeps the coop smelling slightly more pleasant than having none in there! If the straw in the nest box is ruined then I’ll replace that, although I tend to leave it for a couple of weeks if it’s ok. I’ll get rid of it after a couple of weeks to prevent any bug build-up in the straw itself. Lastly I spray the red-mite concentrate in all the crevices in the coop to ensure the red mite are kept at bay. I always check the ends of the two perches where the mites love to hang out.

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