I spent a good deal of Thursday cleaning the hen house. Yep…I scrubbed a ton of chicken poop. I can hear certain people now…”why in the world do you do these things? Eggs are cheap…why keep chickens”.
Here’s my list of why:
I keep chickens because I have a source of clean, fresh (you don’t think those eggs at the store are that fresh do you?), healthy eggs. Bright orange yolks – nutrient packed eggs!
I keep chickens because I’ll have eggs even if the stores don’t…self sufficiency.
I keep chickens because I can share fresh, healthy eggs with all of my kids and their families.
I keep chickens to be able to raise more hens….each spring we have some mamas go broody and babies are born to replenish the stock. Who needs hatcheries?
I keep chickens because I have a source of clean meat for the table. As the hens age, we harvest them, process them and stock our freezer with them.
I keep hens because they turn my table scraps into wonderful manure for my garden.
I keep hens because I love to watch my grandson follow them around and cluck at them and talk to them….he so desperately wants to pet them but they want nothing to do with him! Pure entertainment!
And finally, I keep hens because I love to watch them and hear their gentle clucking (especially when they are herding their babies)….I find them an excellent stress reducer.
Several times a year, the coop gets a deep cleaning. Everything comes out, gets a thorough scrubbing and is disinfected with a bleach solution. Just before winter sets in is a must. I’ll repeat this in the spring and again in the summer.
We have a 12 unit nesting box I found years ago at a thrift store in a neighboring state. It occurred to me during this cleaning that we never find an egg in the top 6 boxes – just the hay and a lot of poop. The floors of the boxes pop out for cleaning. This time I decided not to put them back in the top 6 boxes. I had to giggle – I had visions of hens jumping into boxes and dropping down a level!
I ended up only putting floors back in 4 boxes in the middle of the bottom row. I think that is enough for a dozen hens! They usually only use three. We will use less hay and keep cleaning chores down, a win-win situation.
I keep a bucket for cleaning out nests. As the nests are soiled, the dirty hay is picked up and put in the bucket which then gets dumped into the garden, either in the compost bin or tilled into a garden bed for future planting. Free fertilizer! Add another layer of clean hay and they are ready to go!
We’ve also decided to move the feeder outside – lots of pooping happens during feeding. Although our house is moved often, it is heavy and difficult to do. Less poop in the house will be a good thing! We are looking at some different designs. Any ideas?
I’d say keeping chickens (and cleaning poop!) is definitely worth it for my family. How about yours?
Next time, find out what I did with the rest of my day….VERY exciting for an herbalist like myself!