Sunday, March 20, 2011

Little Work, Big Reward

It was time.
Daffodils are up, seeds are ordered, the day dawned warm and sunny, and Cluckingham Palace was stinky.
Time to clean the coop.
Most every week, I turn over over the pine/poop bedding, clean the water container, check on the nest boxes, but today was the big overhaul.

The girls loved being out in the sun and dusting themselves whilst the Handy Man and I dismantled their apartment.

All the nest boxes came out, along with food and water containers, the ladder to the high roosts, and all the bedding. All thousand pounds of brown gold compost was trucked to the garden by the wheelbarrow load. Everything that could be was scraped, then scrubbed with bleach water, rinsed and sunned. Handy Man and I are exhausted.

I did a lot of research before setting up chicken keeping. I read books and looked up stuff online and perused a number of blogs. I think all that research paid off. My goal was to use whatever we already had that would suffice, and purchase things that would serve us well in the long haul.
You know there are only about a million things out there for chickens. We cleaned out the old shed for a coop. Built nesting boxes from scrap wood. Made the roost from old bed rails. I read about making feeders from buckets. Luckily for us, my nephew was employed in a bakery at the time and could provide lots of buckets.
You know those big ones that are full of flavored Crisco and sugar, with the only redeemable quality being the taste. Let's don't mention the unredeemable quality of making us fat as wee suckling pigs. I digress.
Anyway, it said to drill holes in the bottom sides, screw a flowerpot tray on the bottom and wha-la. It works great. These buckets have held the chickie girls food for two years now. I also read that you can make the water bucket in a similar way, but the lid would have to seal for it all to work well. I didn't want to trust something as important as water to an iffy set-up, so I went with a three gallon waterer. It too has served us well.
The only thing we've changed is to add a bit of a front to the nest boxes. My girls like their privacy whilst producing and cardboard stapled to the front doesn't last too long, so the Handy Man fixed them up.

It was a lot of work, but it is such a good feeling to get it done. With the addition of fresh chips, dried herbs from the garden, and the roost bottoms turpentined, it even smelled good. One day of BIG work for a year full of golden treasures, for which we are thankful.
My thankfulness includes
-sharing a fun hobby with my help mate
-knowing my new grandboy is growing healthy and strong on eggs from happy, healthy hens
-smiling from my friend's report of lower cholesterol after chickie girl gifts
-sighing that the curmudgeonly custodian can be gifted with something that brings him some joy
-having the perfect contribution to my son's diet
-watching Bean eat them with eagerness and enthusiasm
-having the opportunity to bear a gift that is always appreciated
-feeding my garden with awesome compost
-waking every morning to the freshest breakfast available
I love when a plan comes together- Praise the Lord!

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