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Anytime you add pets to your household, you add resposibilities to your daily life. Owning chickens means extra work, but it doesn’t need to be difficult or time consuming. Right now we have 17 hens and I averagae between 10 – 15 each day, tending to their needs. In exchange, they offer us fresh eggs and lot of laughs!
The key is setting up you coops to be easily maintained. I have three coops, and the girls choose where they wish to sleep each night. Usually 7 of them cuddle up in the Eglu Go UP, 9 of them will head into the big coop and silly Louisie often beds down alone in the smallest of the three coops. I basically use the same method to clean each.
Every morning, someone in the household will let the girls out. Some scoot out right away, others like to sleep in a bit. When I go out, I bring a big bowl of fermented feed for them. As they jostle over who gets to it first, I open up all three coops. I usually do the largest first. This is what awaits me…not the prettiest sight!
But it gets done before you can say Bob’s your uncle. I just move the roosting bars over to one side. And with my handy scoop and sifter, I remove all the waste, which is super easy due to using zeolite in the bottom slide out “drawer”/ droppings board. (Thank you to Kathy Mormeno “The Chicken Chick” for the awesome tip on the zeolite and the sifter! You can get one HERE )
Once I’ve scooped up all the chicken poop, I shake the sifter and the exsess zeolite falls back into the coop. I then take the contents and dump them into the compost pile.
I then put add another scoop of zeolite (if needed) and spread it out evenly over the “drawer” with the back of the scoop. Once that’s done, I put the roosting bars back in postion. Quite often, Louise feels the need to supervise my work!
If any of the pine shavings need to be removed from the nesting boxes, I just scoop them out and dump them in the compost pile too! I keep my zeolite (I use PDZ, that I get at Tractor Supply) and pine shavings and feed, in galvanized aluminum garbage cans that are kept near the coops. The same process is used on the other coops. The only difference is, that with the Egly Go UP, I just pull out the tray and dump it directly into the compost heap. Once a week, I’ll take a hose and spray it down and wipe dry with paper towels.
Using this method, my coops are always clean, dry and amonia free. Once coops are done, I empty, rinse and refill waterers and fill feeders. Usually Thelma, Louise and Foggy have laid eggs by the time I come out to clean. Later in the day, I will recheck for eggs, and refill feeders, if needed. EASY!