Our chicken coop, ready for cleaning

One of the steps in making my no-till garden plot earlier this Spring called for organic fertilizer over fresh compost. So I found myself in the fertilizer aisle of the garden center comparing options …. fish emulsion, kelp, buffalo loam. One option looked like an incredible value: only $8 for a 25 lb bag. And then I caught a whiff and I knew why it was “priced to move”. Chickety Doo Doo, it was called. If the name left any doubt, the smell certainly didn’t. Oh, I know that smell! I’ve got plenty of this at home.

So I headed home to clean out the chicken coop and harvest all the free fertilizer I could. I built a little contraption to separate the wood shavings from the good stuff (funny how farming changes your perspective about what constitutes “good stuff”).

Cleaning out the coop

It’s usually at this point of retelling a story of what I’m up to on the farm to her friends that Becca will get the question: “And what does Rory do?” I do in fact, have a job. I just have the luxury of working from home with very flexible hours so I can do things like clean a chicken coop at 2pm on a Tuesday.

Taking a business call

I still answer the phone when a client calls, though it can be a bit awkward when a rooster crows in the background.

Our rooster keeps an eye on things

Chicken coop is all clean with fresh bedding.

After I rake out the old wood chips, I spray down the insides with a disinfectant. Then I put down clean pine shavings and refill the nest boxes for the hens.

Laying hen settling in to a clean nest box

Chickens are truly one of the easiest animals to care for. I tell people they’re easier than goldfish. I only clean the coop two or three times a year and refill their feeder every few days. We give them all our left over food scraps which they recycle into delicious eggs. For that minimal input we get 4-5 eggs per day, free fertilizer for our garden, and daily entertainment.