Sunday, March 7, 2010

What I do when it gets above 50 degrees

I clean out the chicken coop!

These are some seriously happy chickens.  They have new forage!  They're also in more sun than they have for the past few months.  

We had a gorgeous day yesterday as well.  Unfortunately, we had something going all day, so were unable to be out in the nice weather.  Today is just as wonderful.  It's 11 AM and already 52 degrees.  Since the ground is still far too frozen for me to do anything with, I decided to clean out and move the chickens.  

They had been moved a few times, until the snowy weather got the better of us and we could no longer budge the tractor.  We were using a deep composting system.  Lots of bedding composting down, mixed in with chicken poo, made for some great manure for the beds.

I got enough manure for 3 of my 4 x 12 beds.  The beds are still frozen solid, so I just spread it over the top.  In a few weeks, I'll be able to work it in a bit better.  The manure is still too hot to plant anyway.  It should be perfect by May, when I will do the majority of my planting.
This is where they were, under J's deck.  It was about 6 inches thick of chicken gold.  They were so excited when I moved them.  Pecking away at the new dirt, taking little dirt baths.  A few of them were a bit muddy, but for the most part, no worse for the wear of winter.  

We have had a good first year with them, thankfully.  We had a bout of what I called 'poopy butt', but some yogurt to eat and some apple cider vinegar for their water, cleared it up quickly.  I'm thrilled that we didn't lose any over the winter and we're talking about more for this year!  I did find that they have been wasting a large part of their food.  We'll be trying for a new feeder design to prevent them from scattering the food all over the ground.  

In the meantime, they will still be in the backyard.  They still need the water heater to prevent freezing.  Our nights are still in the low 20s.  I'm also in the process of weaning them off of their supplemental lighting.  By April, they should be pecking away in the front yard.  

For now, they're happily laying us eggs in their newly cleaned home. 


Lise said...

We think alike. The coop is the first thing I got to with this thaw, too. (But mine was more like shoveling out soup, because of all the melting snow.) Yay for happy chickens, and for SUN!

kitsapFG said...

Those chickens do look happy! I bet they were ready for some sun and fresh bedding. Just like us - they must appreciate a clean bed and a bit of sunshine on the face (beak).

kiwi gomes said...

The girls look so happy! You sound happy ... :D

Karen Anne said...

What's the supplemental lighting for? Egg production? Warmth?

The Mom said...

Lise, they were having a blast taking dust baths yesterday. I love happy chickens!

Kitsap, they were getting some sun, but now they're getting lots more.

Kiwi, they are happy, and so am I! I hope I get to see you before you leave.

Karen Anne, the lighting is for egg production.