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Friday, December 31, 2010

Using Hens to Muck Out a Barn

I love chickens; they are an ideal homestead animal! Our chickens are quadruple-purpose birds. Not only do they provide us with eggs and meat, they till/improve the soil and help muck out the barn.
It doesn’t take long for the wasted hay on the barn floor to build up. Soon, it is a compressed thatch that requires the pitchfork to pry up. It is smelly, heavy work. When I stay on top of the hay mess by raking it out each day, there are no problems. The task of keeping it raked out certainly gets away from me fast.
The storm last week meant keeping the ram lambs in the barn and feeding them hay. The strong winds upended the chicken tractor and so the three, homeless hens were sent to bunk with the ram lambs. They started right in scratching that spoiled hay up and sending it flying. Seeing the fun they are having and what a good job they are doing, I decided not to deprive them of the pleasure of loosening that packed bedding. Tomorrow, I will rake out all the loose stuff and see what kind of job they did.

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