Saturday, December 28, 2013

cleaning the hen house

When I moved the chickens to the hen house, I covered the floor with a bag of pine shavings.  That was back around the first of June, and I had never changed the bedding since then.  I had Cliff pick up a couple bags of pine shavings the other day.  Today being a fairly decent day, I figured it was time to clean the stinking hen house.  
It actually wasn't that hard a job:  First I turned the chickens out.  Then Cliff pulled the tractor up close to the door, so all I had to do was get the snow shovel full of bedding and poop, walk out the door to the bucket of the tractor, and toss it in.  Because it was dry material, the combined poop and bedding weren't heavy.  The worst part was the dust I stirred up, but I can handle that.  Cliff spread the old bedding thinly over my garden.  Ideally I would have composted it, but I don't compost. 
 My chickens now have the best-smelling chicken house around, at least for today.

    I have six hens, although I think only five of them are laying, since the most eggs I have ever gotten in one day is five; one of the hens looks rather scraggly and pale, and I'm betting she is my non-layer.  They have made do with one nest, the one on the right; but often when I went out with feed or water, I would find two hens squeezed into that one nest.  So while the place was relatively clean and good-smelling, Cliff added another nest.  He seems to have some sort of allergy to chicken dust.  It makes him break out and get all itchy.  So I do my best not to have him do anything inside their house.  

During the winter the chickens have to drink out of that container, because if the regular waterer were to freeze, it would ruin it.  I have a rock in the bucket so they don't tip it over.  When the temperatures are freezing or below, I take out hot water from the kitchen faucet three or four times a day and pour it over their ice to thaw it.  This seems to give them enough water to drink.  

Another thing Cliff did for me while it was clean was put that board at the bottom of the doorway, so the shavings wouldn't end up outside.  Here's hoping I remember it's there, rather than stumbling over it when I go in and out.  

I throw "scratch" out for the flock, and they come running.  That little guy on the right was given to me by Cliff's brother, who said I needed a banty hen if I intended to have a setting hen to hatch eggs.  Unfortunately, that "hen" turned out to be a rooster.  He has to go.  

Now I have to wait and see whether the hens will use their new nest.  I also wonder if they will hesitate, going over the board in the doorway.  Chickens are scared of anything new; you should have seen them the first time I opened their door to let them out when there was snow on the ground.  It took them half-an-hour to decide it was safe.  This is why we call cowardly people chicken, because chickens are afraid of anything they don't recognize.  



  1. i love that post Donna,they sure are now living in style

  2. Oh how I hated "spring" time, Gramp had us clean the Hen House floor as soon as snow was gone and the Hens could be let outside, it was smelly but lucky for us there was a front door and a back door for a cross breeze!!!!

  3. I did not know that chickens are afraid of new things. INTERESTING, indeed!

  4. I didn't know that is where the saying about being chicken came from either. I do learn something new every day of my life.


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