During January you can hardly escape the calls to de-clutter your home, reorganise your cupboards and generally sort out domestic life (especially when you work on a home-interest magazine like Country Living). While James and I have largely ignored these pleas in respect of our own dwelling (though we did have our landing and stairway plastered last week, a major piece of the renovation jigsaw in place), we took it to heart on behalf of our hens.
First was the run itself, which during the spell of wet weather had become somewhat swamp-like. We emptied a couple of large bags of bark onto the lowest, muddiest point to keep the hens from getting too dirty and to stop us from slipping over. A tree stump also came out and the girls loved the chance to turn over some fresh earth.
Next, was the coop – it could have doubled as a house of horrors until I employed our trusty Henry vacuum cleaner to remove all the magnificent but very dusty cobwebs from it (please note: no spidery residents were harmed in the process).
James then cleared and cleaned out our dedicated henkeeping shed, where we store the flock’s layers’ pellets and corn in a plastic box, straw for the nesting boxes, oyster shell (which helps harden their own eggs’ packaging), grit (aids the breakdown of food in their crop), Diatom (a natural and brilliant red mite powder), Verm-X (the delicious-smelling herbal wormer), a broom, scraper (for cleaning the coop floor), dustpan and brush plus, of course, our Henry vacuum cleaner, which after years of hard graft hoovering up the dust and debris from our house restoration project is now in semi-retirement and used just a few times a year to clean out the coop. A satisfying morning’s work, followed by a poached egg lunch. Yum. And talking of such things, production is booming: I’m taking in one and a half dozen eggs to the CL office today. A great way to start 2013.