One of the main spring tasks is to clean out the barn.
On our barn we have two four-foot doors at each end to help with the easy removal of the manure. With the doors wide open, the chickens take advantage of having no fence and go exploring.
They usually don’t go too far as most of them just go to the neighbouring pen and visit the pigs.
Now, the pigs began tilling up their yard as soon as they possibly could, bringing all sorts of things to the surface. Every morning the chickens like to go and see if anything new has been brought up.
They also eat the uneaten feed grains that the pigs have missed. The pigs, for the most part, leave the chickens alone as they are also exploring the new ground that is revealed by the melting snow.
The saying is that “chickens always come home to roost” but sometimes chickens forget how to get in. So every night we have to go out and redirect the chickens who have collected beside the barn in the pig pen.
They know that the barn is home, but they can’t seem to recollect how to get inside. Some also just go and huddle in a corner of the pig’s house.
One of the first nights that we were out redirecting the chickens, I went into the pig house to check and see if there were any birds inside. As I was shooing them out, the pigs got up to see what was going on. I noticed that where the pigs had been laying there was a chicken egg.
The amazing thing was the egg was still intact. I would have thought that the pigs would have crushed it or eaten it. But they hadn’t.
Every spring, the meltwater collects in a pool at the bottom of our barnyard. As the runoff water flows into this pool, it runs through the rest of the barnyard and makes a natural form of manure tea.
Eventually, the water slowly soaks into the soil, which makes this area very lush with grass every summer. Rather than saving this tea, we generally allow it to soak in so that during the summer we can mow the area and feed the animals fresh grass.
Manure tea has been found to be filled with many nutrients for plants. The most common way of making this tea is to put manure into a porous bag and then allow it to steep in a large container of water for a few days.
This resulting tea is then either sprayed onto the plants or used to water them. It doesn’t have the same “burning” effect that fresh manure can have. So it is safe to use on most plants.
The geese are also enjoying the spring melt, even though I think that the hens should be staying put and hatching some goslings, they have other ideas.
Geese love to muck around in water and mud. And so, with all the meltwater, they have been enjoying the puddles immensely. Even swimming down the large puddle in the road to the barn.
And as the water will soon be gone, I guess I can let them enjoy spring, just like the rest of us.