Thank goodness! I’ll just have to slow down on the clean up. 😉
I have become very closely acquainted with all manner of poop this week! Today’s attack was on the chicken coop. During one of the forty some thaws we had this winter the floor in there got flooded. Then froze … then thawed… repeat. I learned that if I piled on the woodchips the bottom layer(s) would freeze and melt but the top six inches or so stayed dry.
It seemed safe to assume this week that we are done with the freeze part of that cycle. So I dug in. It was an impressive build up! See that perch up there. It is half buried.
Even their laying boxes had a good four inches of woodchips under their straw bedding. Do you think I could convince them to use anything else – not! So build it up we did.
After a few hours of digging – and carrying – I was able to see my way to a cleaned up floor. The hens were not all that keen on walking into the black abyss.
Lily took a run at it … but then slid right across the slick floor on her butt. Not impressed.
Goldie came to her rescue … but then chickened out! (Couldn’t resist that one! ) 😉
About this time I was sweeping up the last bits of old bedding when I realized the floor had taken a good hit. It was still there … just very saggy. I’m thinking the base below has rotted with all the water that ran through and underneath. Ugh! I called out the Meadow Chief Engineer (some people call her Edie) and we took a look.
Our first idea was for me to somehow lever the coop up so she could get a better idea of what happened. Reviewing how securely we had nailed it to the winter run … we let that one go. Walking gingerly Ede figured it would be fine. It only has to hold the weight of chickens … well … and their caretaker and egg collector … The floor is that vinyl board type of thing they make (cheap) garden sheds out of. Someday we’ll have to reinforce it. But we decided it would do for this season.
As I came back to the paddock after running the last load to the compost bin we noticed that there was still some water collecting in the middle of the floor – the lowest point. I had been toying with the idea of putting a ‘drain’ there so that if there was a flood again the water could find a way out. Ede thought that sounded like a good idea and off she went to bring me the drill. I had thoroughly jet washed the nesting boxes and the perch so I worked away drying them off.
When the drill arrived I figured a configuration of five holes would be enough. Having now had years of training in ‘tool confidence’ (notice I didn’t say skill) from the Chief Engineer, I set to it. Just as we both put our faces down to admire the first hole it suddenly turned into a geyser! Crikey! The floor felt ‘squishy’ because there is stinky standing water pressed under there. Now I’d done it! NEXT winter the flood can come UP through the floor. WHAT WAS I THINKING! Dang it!
When I finally scattered a light covering of woodchips onto the floor they covered the ‘Goop’ filled – Gorilla taped – patchwork that the C.E. put in place. We’re letting it dry overnight. Nothing heavier than a chicken is supposed to step in there for twenty-four hours. (I figure that really didn’t apply to the quick prancing in and out required to pick Goldie up and put him on the newly raised night perch. Newly ‘raised’ because … well … the floor got lowered!)
This is the scene I drove back and forth by each time I took a load to the compost bin. That’s Bella. I’m keeping my eye on her. I think she has very sore front legs. She doesn’t have hot hooves. And she had no problems with Dan (farrier) working on them yesterday. It seems to be more a shoulders or joint issue… A similar thing happened to Rosie a few years ago – not hooves – shoulders. Hmmm … if she is still looking this uncomfortable in the morning I think we need to try some ‘Bute’ (painkiller) to see if it helps.
It is strange this happens this time of year … It also coincides with when they would have had shots. I’m steering away from vaccinations for them now. Seems every horse and donkey person I check with is not following an annual schedule for shots. And every time the jennies have them both Rosie and Bella get sick. Big swollen lumps form near the shots and you can feel the heat radiating from those spots along their shoulders and backs. Last time Rosie went down – couldn’t get up for a full day and only barely the next. And yet – here is Bella – seemingly sick even without the shots. There has not been enough greens yet for her to have foundered on too much sugar… and her diet has not changed. She is still eating well. And she wandered from back to front paddocks a couple of times today – that includes a hilly road in between them. I’ve checked her daily for ticks – none yet. Unless it was really well disguised in an unusual place … The sun bothers her in the spring – her black coat makes her very hot. She drank lots today and I kept refreshing the water buckets so it was nice and cool. Poor girl – we will have to stay on our toes to help her out.
All good vibes are welcome!