This past Saturday we got a lot of chores on my list accomplished, including cleaning my mom’s chicken house and our horse barn. Ellen dubbed Saturday "Stinkereroo Day," which Brian and I thought was very appropriate. After a long winter the contents of both the chicken house and barn, were, to put it delicately, quite intense.
Though, neither chore is at the top of my favorites list of things to do on the farm, both come with the territory when you have livestock. Cleaning the chicken house, which, in my book, is worse than cleaning the horse barn, took only about an hour with Brian and I working together on the project. Once, we finished cleaning it I put a few bales of fresh straw in for the chickens to scratch around. Apparently, they were appreciative of our efforts because my mom said when she went out later to collect eggs they were singing up a storm while they pecked for stray wheat kernels in the straw.
Cleaning the horses’ barn took about three times longer than cleaning the chicken house, but fortunately, most of it was done with a tractor and loader bucket. Our horses stay in a big barn with free access in and out, so we only clean the building twice a year, in the spring and fall. We put on layers of fresh straw weekly which provide good insulation over the cement floor in the winter. Using the loader bucket cuts down on the hand labor and we only had to shovel on the last few loads.
As with all physical labor, I view barn cleaning as a muscle builder and calorie burner. Stinkeroo Day on the farm was a good workout and the smells, while not pleasant, were tolerable. Now, the smell that was wafting in the downtown air when I went out for lunch is another story…