Overall, acquiring chickens has been a great experience. They are not a lot of work, they are cute and funny and quirky, and the eggs are de-li-cious.
We have had to troubleshoot a few problems. Daisy escaped–once, I think, or was it twice? Their water dish was going to freeze in winter so we had to run a very long extension cord from the garage to the chicken coop to plug in a water heater. The latest challenge is that they started picking feathers off one another–mostly in the lower belly, rear region–at the tail end (so to speak!?) of a very long winter. Now they are chickens with, well, what we have come to call baboon butts. They look absolutely ridiculous, especially given that we can see their red-skinned belly/rears from the garage–and I can see the red patches even without my glasses, which gives you a sense of how bad it is. The arrival of spring seems to be solving that interpersonal problem. They are too busy wandering and munching to pick on one another.
I said they are not a lot of work. It’s generally true, but we do need to look for eggs throughout the day, check on their food and water about once a week, and toss them some new straw every week or two. And about every week or so, Ron has been scraping off the chicken poop from their multiple roosts. In addition, about every month or so, some of the poopiest straw (e.g., what’s right under the roosts) needs to leave the coop and go into the compost or garden to decompose.
Yesterday, Ron was doing one of his chicken maintenance days–scrape the roosts, pitchfork out straw, add some new straw. Since the chicken poopy straw could go in the garden, he decided to toss the straw over the fence, rather than finding the wheelbarrow, stacking it in there, rolling it into the garden, and dumping it. [Do you know where this is heading??]
Some of the tossing over the fence went fine.
Until it didn’t.
And a pitchfork of chicken poopy straw fell on Ron’s head. (Fortunately, he was wearing a baseball cap.) Nonetheless, argh!?
Lesson? Unless you want a forecast of “cloudy with a chance of chicken poopy straw,” no shortcuts on chicken maintenance!