“Spic ‘n Span in Chickenland”

If you could ask your spouse for anything, what would it be? I must acknowledge that the CE is very good to me. For a guy who buys his clothes at Gap because he doesn’t want to pay the price for what he contemptuously terms “Resort Dip Wear”,  he’s extremely generous with my indulgences. However, I do have to keep him on his toes, so yesterday I asked for the moon: a complete coop clean-out.

I would, of course, be happy to do this myself, but due to back problems, I must rely on the noble Chicken Emperor. We use what I would call a “modified deep litter method” of maintaining the coop.  Pine shavings are my litter of choice, and are quite popular with other chicken-keepers, although some use shredded paper or hay. Some also use cedar shavings, although this is controversial due to the phenols they emit, which can be toxic to chickens.

Who says he doesn't have a job?

Who says he doesn't have a job?

A true Deep Litter Method begins with a four-inch layer of fresh litter material and then adding more from time to time as needed. In a true deep-litter regimen, one is removed until it becomes 8 to 12 inches deep. Since we only have four chickens, and the luxury of time, I choose to be more fastidious. I do a complete counter-top clean-up of the coop each day, and the CE rakes the “big clumps” from the floor weekly. The last full sweep-out of the coop was about a month ago, so I asked the CE to do another full-scale clean-out along with mopping the floor (one of the benefits of a concrete coop floor) with a weak bleach solution. This post’s headline is his, as he proudly announced when he was finished that “Things are spic ‘n span in Chickenland.

24 hours later, they're working on making a mess

24 hours later, they're working on making a mess

Some people stir lime or diatomaceous earth into their litter but so far we haven’t needed it since we change our litter more frequently and we live in a fairly dry climate. This could all change come the rainy season, of course…

There’s more to it than aesthetics. According to Robert Plamondon, who I’ve quoted previously, “the “deep litter method” was one of the most important poultry developments of the twentieth century. It resulted in a dramatic drop in disease and a reduction in the amount of labor it took to keep a flock of chickens. It also gave an early example of how biodiversity works to our advantage, even with confined livestock.”  According to Plamondon’s web site http://www.plamondon.com/faq_deep_litter.html, the DLM has been proven to aid in building chickens’ resistance to coccidiosis and improve their growth rate. Plamondon would likely frown upon my method, since we don’t let the litter build up to 8-12 inches, but so far, this is working for us. Our chickens seem happy and healthy!

The girls at 16 weeks of age

The girls at 16 weeks of age

Future developments in Chickenland may be on the horizon. I’ve been hinting (imploring, nagging, bullying might be more like it) that I would love to put a fountain along the currently bare wall  at the back of the chicken area. The CE initially vetoed the idea because of the expense of running electricity to the area, but he recently consulted with our landscaper and thinks he may have found a way to do it for a manageable cost.

Here's where I envision a fountain, and maybe a deck

Here's where I envision a fountain, and maybe a deck

Now I’m thinking we might also want to put in a small deck so we can have a seating area elevated above the oak leaves. It would be nice for chicken-viewing, and might also lessen the amount of flora the dogs track in. And, since my husband is so generous, I may as well shoot for the moon, right?

They claim dogs are chicken predators, but I just don't see it.

They claim dogs are chicken predators, but I just don't see it.

Maybe this is what is known as a "bird dog"?

Maybe this is what is known as a "bird dog"?

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
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One Response to “Spic ‘n Span in Chickenland”

  1. Katherine Gunther says:

    Wow. Those are some lucky chickens. So are you, having a hubby like that.

    I didn’t know what you meant about the amount of flora that the dogs track in until I saw that last picture. That’s a lot of leaves on Chloe’s gauchos.

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