I am a dumb cluck.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by gcvmom, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Next time I decide to clean out the coop, would SOMEBODY please tell me to wet it down first???

    I thought that since it was raining today, the extra humidity would mean less dust in the air so I shovelled out the overdue coop bedding this afternoon during a break in the weather. Less dust my foot! I had to take a puff off difficult child 1's asthma inhalers when I got back in the house! This is why I don't have him do that work... although I did ask him to empty the wheelbarrow of old bedding into the compost on the other side of the yard -- that's out in the open with good air circulation, so hopefully he won't have any problems.

    But man, I'm sitting here and although now my breathing is better, I'm sneezing, my nose is running and my throat is itchy! :sick:
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I didn't know you were allergic. Wetting it down makes the job smellier and messier, but if you have to do it for the sake of your health, then you have to do it. I always dig it out dry to use as compost or manure top-up in the compost bin. But it doesn't give me breathing trouble.

    What I think has worked for me, is our chookhouse is basically a giant compost heap in itself, open underneath to the ground. Earthworms can get in and do their work. The sides are several courses of loose-laid bricks, with a timber frame sitting over the lot. Timber frame has walls, wire and fibreglass sheeting, and a roof of corrugated sheeting. We then got fallen logs from trees about arm thickness and use those for perches. Under the perches we put some wooden boxes and these collect droppings overnight (that's the concentrated manure). I let the neighbours know that there is free manure here, they come to dig it out for themselves and they STILL offer to pay me! I ask them to pay me in grass clippings, which we toss into the chookhouse. The compost/clippings/manure heap fills to the top of the brickwork and the chooks scratch around in the top of that. We keep it dry (keep out the rain) and if it gets wet or smells, I toss in some garden lime and dig it in. We let the chooks out every afternoon and they put themselves back to bed at dusk. Inside, we have 4 litre plastic ice cream buckets as water containers, these are sitting in a wooden box which is now buried (partly) in compost. The buckets lift out for cleaning and are rinsed and refilled every day. The feed hopper sits on two more boxes (straddles them) so chooks can creep underneath to lay eggs in privacy if they choose. We have built brick steps to get in and out, because some of the older hens struggle with the door being several course of bricks high. The steps are easier for us to get in and out, easier than a ramp (which I had originally planned).

    I can skip digging this out literally for years. Eventually the pressure builds up on the bricks and they fall out. Then we dig out enough (it is now pure, clean, perfect compost, no smell even when wet) so there is no pressure on the bricks, and then rebuild the brick wall. Only a few minutes' work.
    When we need a lot of compost, we turf the chooks out for the afternoon, knock down some bricks, dig out as much as we have the energy for and barrow it to where we want. Then put in the call for grass clippings to refill the brick pit!

    The chooks eat grass clippings (as much as they can) and the rest composts. This also keeps them a bit warmer in winter. I can throw the worst weeds in there, and what doesn't get eaten breaks down. Any weed trying to grow, gets eaten. And the eggs are marvellous!

    Our four new hens are fitting in happily. They still look awful, feathers sticking out at all angles and bare patches everywhere, but given time they will fill out again. They can't believe their luck - I see them dust-bathing (yes, the stuff in there is dry enough in places for them to dust-bath) and scratching around. They have never had the chance to do anything like this, they were living in wire cages until Monday.

    If digging this out is a problem for you, find a neighbour who doesn't have allergy issues and who can be paid in manure.

  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I didn't know I was allergic either! Didn't bother me the last time I did it... then again, it could have been something outside... it's been raining and the mold count goes up after a rain here. Who knows. It was my first conclusion when I came in for a rest and started having symptoms, lol!
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I would think an easy solution would be to just wear a dust mask...

    Even a person who is not allergic can be overwhelmed with sawdust and such.
  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    That would be too easy, DF! :rofl:
  6. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    ,,,,,,,,,,,They have a name for people that do what you did...........(I'm not allowed to say it here)

    Kemosabie......wearum mask.....mmmmmmmhmmm
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Thanks Tonto... by the way, do you know what Tonto means in Spanish??? Well DO ya? :rofl:
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    It MUST mean INCREDIBLY ADORABLE.......I mean.......WHAT ELSE could it mean. I think Kemosabie is best served wit' maccaroni and cheese.
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Tonto.........(drums fingers) Tonto...........(looks longingly as if she understood Espanole as a fourth language)........nooooooooooope drawing a complete blank. :cool-little::cool-very:
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

  11. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    And Kimosabe... I'm taking a wild guess... is really Quimo and Sabe...

    Quimo = chyme (that's right, partially digested food)
    Sabe = to know

    Ummm... know what's in your gut?

    Now I REALLY feel like a Tonto (actually, that would be Tonta).