I am a great believer that prevention is better than trying to remedy something once it has happened.
This is very true for maintaining the health of a backyard chicken flock.
So to prevent infestations of lice and mite, the build-up of deep litter that can become very smelly and to generally keep your chooks happy and healthy, I like to regularly give their housing a good clean.
I like to complete this task at least every 10 weeks.
I have a simple small shed made from welded angle iron covered in corrugated iron, on a concrete slab and use a deep litter system of about 20cms of wood shavings on the floor to catch all night defecation.
Inside I have a roost made from five eucalyptus branches bolted together, a nesting box that was an old lawnmower catcher and a feeder hanging from the roof by thin wire to prevent rodent access.
So what do I do?
• I take everything out of the shed.
• I shovel all the deep litter into a barrow and then spread it on the garden, or use it for fertiliser tea.
• I wash the shed, the perches, nesting box and feed container out using a nozzle on a hose.
• I then spray a diluted eucalyptus mix (1/4 cup per 10 litres of water) over the whole lot and allow everything to dry out.
• I then spread new clean deep litter over the floor of the shed, usually using wood shaving purchased from the local produce store which is sold as animal bedding.
• I fill the nest box with new material, again usually wood shavings, but I also add dried garlic leaves and worm wood to ensure protection from lice and mites.
• Then I replace roost, feeder and nest box back in shed.
Every few days I scatter a handful of scratch mix in the shed to encourage the chooks to turn the deep litter regularly so that by the time you are ready to do the next clean out the deep litter is beautifully composted and a wonderful addition on the productive garden.
So why not spend some time this week looking after your flock and reaping the reward of having a healthy happy flock of productive birds.
Check out my Chicken and Eggs board on Pinterest for some gorgeous pictures and some really good tips and tricks!
I spoke about rearing chickens and organic gardening in general in a podcast over at The Greening of Gavin – check it out here!