As much as I hate it, this is the time on the farm that my time and energy are focused outside, instead of inside. By the time I finally come back in at the end of the day, my mind and body just cannot sit at a computer and write. I love visiting with all of you through my blog, but there are just times that farm chores have to take precedence – for instance…..
Most of us set aside time to do what is considered Spring Cleaning. We take down curtains to wash, move furniture to clean behind, and thoroughly scrub our house from ceiling to floor. As back-breaking as that sounds, I would much rather be doing this inside my house than outside in my chicken coop. However, if I want healthy birds, then I have no choice!
As small as our coop is (I think it is around 16’x24’), you would think it would be a quick and easy chore. Wrong. Although I do clean it during the year, spring and late fall is the time that I get in there and scrub everything down. Feed boxes and treat bags have to be taken out. All the waterers and feeders need to be washed and bleached. The nest boxes need to be vacuumed out. The screens need to be scrubbed with a scrub brush. The dust webs have to come down. The floors and walls have to be swept, then vacuumed. And then, everything needs to be washed down with bleach.
While doing all of this you get to wear a mask – the last thing you want to do is breath in all that dust. You need to wear a scarf or hat. You need to wear gloves. Your clothes needs to be old and bleachable. And you need to have the fortitude of Attila the Hun.
To do this properly, you need to also get all the chickens out of the hen house and lock up their access points. Respiratory problems are just as threatening to them as they are to a human. Unfortunately, we didn’t have to worry about that. We discovered all too late that a critter, possibly a fox, dug a hole deep enough to go under cinder blocks, invited all his family over to our coop for an all-you-can-eat buffet. One morning we had over 20 birds, that evening all we had left were a few feathers.
Although my heart flooded with tears, I decided that this would be the best time to clean. It has been a sporadic cleaning, as the rain we have been having has made it difficult to work. But the majority of it is done, and my new chicks have a nice clean home. My muscles are about to get a good workout as well, because we will be digging a trench deep enough to sink sheets of tin in it to try and discourage any more digging. We are also going to put a new covering over the yard to deter hawks. And I really need to get busy on that, because all it took was a trip to Tractor Supply….
Spring cleaning a chicken house is hot, dirty, exhausting work. But like our own homes, it has to be done. Next time, though, I think I will be saving my money and seeing if I can con someone else to come do it. Now, if I can just save enough to find someone to do the same thing to my house, I will be in high cotton!!! And I will even provide the head scarfs, gloves and gas masks!