Chickens we’ve just discovered, are messy little critters. There’s chicken s##t everywhere!
Our chicken house was sold as being able to house 4 – 5 chickens, it has a ‘run’ attached so they can get some fresh air and stretch their wings.
We planned on moving the house round the garden every few days, so they’re not on the same spot for too long. Apparently moving them is a good idea, as it prevents them getting diseases and stops the patch of ground under the run getting wasted.
Well, after just one day the grass has been trashed with chicken scratching and covered in chicken poo. As you can see from the below photo, there’s a definitely a different ‘colour’ to the patch, compared to the lush green next to it, on either side it’s well… a little ‘brown’ to say the least!
So we’ve now decided to move the house daily and we have bought some wire fencing, which we’re using to extend the chicken run as a short term measure.
This means the chickens have a larger area to ‘play’ in during the day time, and hopefully means that their poo won’t be concentrated in such a small area.
The obvious up shot to this is that we’ll have loads of lovely chicken poo to add to our compost heap, so I suppose the chickens will be contributing to our vegetable plot next year!
Another odd thing is that Pip the dog seems to want to eat the chicken poo. I don’t know whether this is a marking of the territory thing, or in his mind the next best thing to being able to actually eat the chickens. Whatever the reason, it’s a disgusting habit and he needs to stop!
The whole chicken poo thing has convinced us to fence off a dedicated area of the garden for the chickens to have free range of. There’s a area next to the cabin down the end of the garden, which has gotten a little bit over grown and is just ‘begging’ to be made into a chicken run.
The only problem with this is that we haven’t done anything with this bit of garden since last year, when we cleared the area and re-claimed a wilderness area at the end of the garden - with the help of family and friends.
We then had a cabin built - this is used by Tim as a home office. The view from ‘work’ is pretty nice these days I can tell you!
Re-clearing the area will be a bit of a pain, but worth it I think. Not that I want to put ‘human’ feelings on the chickens, but it would be nice for them to have a larger area to scratch, stretch and do their chicken ‘business’ in, than the small six feet they’ve currently got in their enclosed run under their chicken house.
The area is about four metres wide and four metres deep to the left of the cabin, it then carries on behind the cabin with a area of five metres wide and one metre deep and finally on the right of the cabin, there’s a strip one metre wide and five metres deep. All in things considered, I think it will be a nice area for the chickens to have a run.
But, this is only after the serious work of having to clear the patch of garden again is finished. Then there’ll be the fencing off the front part in line with the cabin, to keep the chickens in and Pip and other visitors out!
Which brings me back to chicken manure… We’re trying to be as ‘green’ as possible these days. We re-cycle, buy organic food, compost our kitchen and garden waste – which has become something of a obsession for Toby and I.
Toby is the ‘compost police’! If he catches anyone trying to put something compostable in the normal bin, they get a stern warning and then a threat to ‘tell daddy’. He tells me (whatever the outcome, as he’s a good ‘snitch’) with pride when he sees me.
Julia told me that some of the compost kitchen scraps will now be fed to the chickens instead. I was a little concerned with this, as I like to ‘feed’ my compost heap… Told you it had become a obsession!
But what with so much chicken ‘waste’ being generated, I can now see that my compost heap won’t be suffering as it will all be going on the heap!
We’ll have our own chicken manure to add to the vegetable compost. Now all I need is an allotment to put it on!
So there you have it, a nice ‘by-product’ of keeping chickens if you’re a gardener or like to grow your own vegetables, is chicken manure.
Posted: August 16th, 2008 under Keeping Chickens.
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