Its time to talk about poo, as much as I’d love to tell you my chickwans wear top hats, scarves and waistcoats and take their baskets to town every day, these aren’t chickens from a Beatrix Potter book…They live in Coop in my back garden.
They eat, sleep and drink where they poo and they poo where they eat, sleep and drink! Chickens aren’t naturally clean animals, they go where the fancy takes them, quite literally. But this aside Chickens really are a most rewarding pet for very little maintenance.
A daily and weekly routine is essential but very workable into daily life. It starts when it times to get up, they’re normally very ready to come out of the house and have a snuffle around the garden, all the doors are opened and Coop gets a good airing. A general poo pick is done from the run, the hen house and nest box. Real life chickens do not discriminate in their excrement and it is essential to remove them as a means of stopping any disease in the flock spreading or eggs fouling. Because the Chickwans eat what they want when they want the droppings and chippings are very suitable for adding to your compost and improving your soil quality.
I put the feeder on the lawn to keep them amused and away from the coop a while. Its also a good means of keeping me associated in their minds with food and allows for a good ‘pet’ of the more social hens. I have a brush of the nooks and crannies in the hen house keeping and eye out of chicken mites…which will come, no matter how proficient you are with chicken husbandry. So far, so good for Coop and the Gang but I’m not going to be lazy about it. The feeder and fresh water are placed strategically in the Coop so they’re protected should the weather turn and with sufficient room for the girls to get around.
We all go about our daily lives and regroup of an evening, where during the evening stretch of the legs or after they’ve put themselves to bed I have a good sweep out of the downstairs, remove food and water for the night. Mostly so we don’t attract any other four legged friends. We have a pick out of unnecessaries in the feeder and throw the water on the veggies and the routine starts again the very next day.
Hay for the nest box, straw for the bottom of the run, chippings for the henhouse and grit are topped up whenever required and changed in the weekly clean out alongside a good once over, a brush, a spray and a deep clean of the feeder and water and takes no more than about twenty minutes, its normally a lot quicker when there isn’t someone, who shall remain nameless, shutting you in the coop or taking pictures of you while you’re buried to the waist in the hen house.
A top to toe deep clean, air and repair is to be scheduled every 6 months and we’ve started a list of things we’d like to change and improve about Coop and hope over the summer while the weather is good and the gang can snuffle around the garden to get most of these done.
The gang in the most part are grateful of your efforts and it takes them about 10 minutes to destroy all your hardwork and make it theirs again but they really do fit in around what you can do when, keep the routine and the housekeeping up and your chickens really do reward you ten fold.