Monday, February 24, 2014

Cleaning a Chicken Coop

For those of you who know me, I am NOT a domestic goddess.  I've learned to cook because I like controlling ingredients.  It is rarely beautiful food, but it tastes beautiful.  For the same reason, I do not bake.  I mostly have no interest in sugary, pretty desserts.  I don't even know how to make pudding.

Cleaning?  Well, mostly I'm the kind of kitty who grabs a cleaning wipe and scrubs off the accumulated toothpaste spit from the faucet.  In order for a thorough cleaning to happen, like when your parents are coming to visit, well... one of my parents has to be coming to visit.  I'm more of a tidy girl--I hate disorder.  When I go on a tear, no one can find anything but me since I have done the unthinkable and put everything back where it belongs.  But dammit, it looks nice again.

Yardwork?  I am prime lazy.  I mow as infrequently as possible, and I design my garden beds so I don't HAVE to weed.  Or water.

But I got a bee in my bonnet this last weekend, and decided that Saturday, the Boy and I were gonna clean up the chicken coop.

See, when we got the pullets last month (those would be Acid, Mocha, and Elasta-Girl), the established girls (Ginger, Peaches, Vader and Leia) decided that no new chicken could walk on the floor.  Or eat from the feeder.  Or drink from the waterer.  I kicked the old girls outside into the cold in order to give the new girls a break from living in the nesting boxes and on the shelf over the nesting boxes.  I set out an alternate dish of food so they wouldn't starve, and placed a dish of melting snow up there so they had more access to water.  I finally had to rearrange the whole layout of the coop, and that did the job.  They are all sharing space now, although Leia still tries to nip at Mocha occasionally.

But while the pullets were living in fear, they pooped EVERYWHERE.  The nesting boxes, once filled with clean pine shavings, were now filled with poop.  The shelf had several layers of chicken poop.  Even the ledge along the big windows had chicken poop all over it.

I tried cleaning the ledge once, but found out that really cold temps mean that chicken poop gets hard, and clings to the wooden boards.

Saturday was supposed to get up over 60.  

The Boy and I were prepared, and looked oh-so-fashionable.  Muck boots, old jeans, work gloves, dust masks, and hats.  I had a big shovel, a small shovel, a garden cart, a gardening rake, 2 trowels, a hand-held rake, and a putty knife.

We emptied out all the nesting boxes and dumped the shavings and the poop in an old compost heap.  Then we filled the boxes with fresh pine shavings.  Prettier all ready!  The Boy took on the task of using the putty knife to scrape the layers of poop off every surface he could find.  He just wanted to use a knife.  He performed admirably, even filling a pot with the scrapings.  While he did that, I got the garden rake and dug out the 52" of poop from under the roosting stick.  That was a LOT of poop encrusted hay, but once it was gone, I turned over all the remaining hay.  I hauled all the yuck into another compost heap.  When that was done, I cleaned out the waterer again.  Finally, I looked around, thinking how pretty the coop was again, now that the surfaces and pine shavings weren't encrusted with poop.

I wanted clean surfaces in the chicken coop.
I wanted CLEAN surfaces in the chicken coop.
I wanted clean SURFACES in the chicken coop.
Why would I want clean surfaces in the chicken coop?  They are chickens.  Chickens poop.

I cannot explain myself.  Just like I cannot explain why I haven't  vacuumed the front room since before Christmas.  Well, that I can explain, actually.  When we keep tracking in snow and mud and ice, despite our best efforts, you just wait.  At least that is what I'm doing.

So the farmhouse is un-dusted and un-vacuumed, and yeah, there is still wrapping paper in the dining room.  But gosh darnit, I have a nice clean chicken coop.

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