Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Because They're Chickens

It was spring cleaning time in the chicken house. The first batch of broilers was due to arrive the following week. That is the perfect time to not only clean and disinfect brooder pens, but the entire chicken house.

We subscribe to the deep litter method for our chicken house. The concept is simple. You only clean out the chicken house once or twice a year. You start with a layer of bedding material. We use shredded paper because it is free. You let the chickens do their thing, and you add some more bedding material as needed. As long as the mixture stays dry, all is well. If you start to smell that ammonia smell, you know things are not dry, and you need to add more dry material. By the end of the winter we have a good thick layer of partially composted manure, shredded paper, and wasted feed.

Chicken manure is hot. Fresh and put directly on the garden it can burn plants. We use our deep litter clean out to fertilize the garden before tilling and planting, or in the summer, to mulch between the rows, especially for nitrogen lovers like corn, keeping the clean out a good distance from the plants. Both of these uses have worked well for us.

This clean out we hauled out the waste by the bucket to the garden nearby.  Remember, we are cleaning out  the hen house. The place the hens have access to 24/7. The place that they are all in every night. They've been with this stuff all winter long, and never found it very interesting. What is the first thing they want to do when it is hauled out and dumped on the garden? They scratch through it and act as if they have been given the biggest treat ever. That is a chicken for you.


  1. I had to laugh because I immediately thought: just like going to Goodwill and being drawn to a sweater, only to realize that you donated it last month. =)

  2. I appreciate this post. I do believe it will change how I handle my chicken house in the future. THANKS