So, what was it that kicked my behind? The hen house. In July. It had been a couple years since it had been cleaned out well and it was time. Sam was a big helper. Using our snow shovel, I scraped and scooped, scraped and scooped, scraped and scooped.
left hanging bucket holds feed, right hanging bucket holds water and has a chicken nipple (yes, there is such a thing) underneath- this keeps the water clean
Using an old broom, I took down so many spider webs, you could no longer see the broom. We patched holes that the scrapping and scooping uncovered.
This hen house was (obviously) here when we bought the house over 8 years ago. It's old and large, so it works well for our 25 or so current residents. The chickens spend very little time in here, actually. They have access to the great out-of-doors 24/7. No, we do not shut them in (not even at night) unless we're introducing two groups of birds or on vacation. The only predator problems we've had have been hawks and the occasional opossum. A couple times a skunk was eating eggs. These problems are rare enough that we prefer to take our chances and let them get up and out as early as they like and let those who enjoy dusk stay out a little later than the others.
One hen, who had gotten out of the chicken yard earlier in the day, took advantage of the open doors when I was cleaning and sneaked in to lay. She (and others) seem to prefer laying with some privacy thanks to the hinged fences that keep them from roosting (and therefore pooping) in the upper nesting boxes.
We cleared out old hay (which does get replaced more often than every couple years- I promise) and replaced it with new.
The roost was raked and scooped,
uncovering an old glass bottle which cleaned up nicely and will now become a little flower vase no doubt.
Even with the doors open and the natural ventilation that comes with drafty old buildings, it was dusty, hot and stinky. I banished the girls from the hen house because I still have to help with their baths. Sam was my right-hand man since he can take his own shower.
view from the roost into the rest of the hen house through the chicken door
In the end, the house was possibly as tidy as it's ever been and we had collected a lot of chicken manure for the garden.
It's wet under the windows because Miriam's mom-needs-me-to-be-busy-so-I-don't-wander-into-the-dusty-hen-house job was to "wash" the windows with sponge and bucket of water.
The hens? They didn't seem to notice. But since they all agreed to poop in the outhouse now, we're good.
And what ensued ranks near the very top of my favorite cold shower list. Pin It