August Cleanup

What’s That Smell?

August 9, 2012 , In: Backyard Chickens , With: No Comments
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It’s been a while since Henny and Penny have made an appearance here on Fingers in the Dirt.  This week Mr. HenSongs and I also realized it’s been a while since we’ve done a serious cleanup of Casa HenSongs.  The weather has warmed up and it was too much to hope that the aromatic smell coming from the backyard was due to our neighbors recently fertilizing their lawn.

An important attribute for urban backyard chicken ranchers is a serious obsessive-compulsive attention to coop and run cleanliness.  As we put it in our family – it’s good to have a Virgo in the house.

Our backyard is not big and Henny and Penny reside close to neighbor’s homes and open windows.  We do our very best to keep odors and flies to a minimum. It’s not that hard if you have the right hen house and cleaning system.

The To-Do List

This is where our Omlet Eglu comes in so VERY handy (shout out to the Omlet folks).  A coop that hoses off in a jiffy and doesn’t retain odors is priceless in a backyard.  We also have a run that is at least twice as large as it needs to be for two hens.  More room = less concentration of poop and less smell.

  • Ground cover of redwood bark and nesting material of shavings are very helpful for odor control.
  • We also clean up poop.  Heck, we’re already scooping dog poop on a daily basis, so Mr. Hensongs (it was a royal “we”) swings through the run and scoops up hen poop at the same time.  All poop is disposed of in the manner acceptable to our garbage company.  We don’t have a place for a compost bin so we leave the composting to the waste management folks.
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps are cleaned up after the hens finish pecking at them.  All it took was finding one R….A….T under the coop with a used cantaloupe rind to make us start this habit.
  • Diatamaceous earth (food quality) is scattered around the coop and run.  It kills little critters on both the ground and the hens and keeps things fresh.
  • A fly trap is a must.  We hide ours in the vine that grows in Casa Hensong.

Every 4 months or so, the bark is changed out.  We only had to experience “ripe” ground cover once to know that this task was not optional.  There’s nothing like planning a backyard BBQ only to discover your yard smells like a farm and not in a good way.

Henny and Penny could care less but we’re happy to keep our neighbors happy!
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Hello, I'm Linda

I am a City Girl who was raised with backyard gardens and a chicken in every plot.

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