It is that time of year again…time to clean out the chicken house. I follow the deep method for dealing with all of the chicken manure. We clean it once a year and in between we use pine shavings and rake them around with the manure to keep things dry and not caked down. We clean it in the hot summer because there are lots and lots of wheelbarrows full of manure that have to be pushed to our chicken compost area near the garden. Our first year of cleaning out the chicken house, we tried in the spring when the ground was still wet. Big problem. The wheelbarrow kept getting stuck in the mud and spilling and making even more of a mess. Now, the summer is super hot, but it is better than the spring.
J and R wanted to go to a 4th of July celebration, so my husband who had already planned a day of fun…not, work instead because of the storm, said if they wanted to go to the party they had to clean the chicken house. He advised them to get up early to avoid some of the heat that we have been having. Lo and behold…they got up early and when I got up at 7:30 they were already out there and working!
5 hours later it was completely cleaned out. The shelves were cleaned off and they had used the shop vac to suck up all of the dusty cobwebs that had formed. They were a hot sweaty mess, but they did an awesome job! They smelled horrible of course, but a shower took care of that. My oldest said that he could still smell the chicken manure on his hands even after the shower. I have had that too. I have kept washing my hands to no avail. You just have to let the stink wear off!
I am so glad to have that job off of my list. Normally, I would do this job myself or with help from a child or two, but I’m not allowed to lift right now, so I was completely hands off. It is amazing what the kids CAN do if they want to. Having a party hanging over their heads is a good motivator.
We used the aged chicken manure from last year in our newest garden box this year. My husband put in a 4 ft. by 12 ft. box for me for our vining plants to try to keep them off of the grass so that we can still mow. It is working somewhat, but not as well as we intended because the plants in there are growing like crazy. No kidding. In the box we put the old chicken manure from last year. Rabbit droppings which can be put straight in the garden from their cage with no aging. A lot of ash from our burn pile which I read somewhere is good for the garden and topped it with the Miracle Grow potting soil, and wow, this is the best garden box we have ever had! I will have to post a couple of pictures of when we planted to now so that you can see the difference. Amazing!