The Ultimate Guide to … Chicken Shit.

Once people learn that I have chickens, I get questions. A lot of questions, and mostly “Isn’t it *icky* to take care of them?” So here is the Ultimate Guide to Chicken Shit. There are a lot of photos, but I promise you that I can do this routine in 10 minutes. And it’s only once a week for the cleanout. I tell people chickens are easier to take care of than dogs – it’s true! And no, it doesn’t really smell at all. I suppose if you let it go too long it would, but once a week seems to do the trick.

Step 1 – Distract the natives. I call this the Chicken Crack Line. Just imagine a mirror underneath, heh heh.







Step 2 – Gather your weapons. Hoe, shovel, bucket.








Step 3 – Assess the task at hand. Warning: poopy pictures ahead.






Step 4 – Get that crap outta there. Dump the nest box, use the hoe, scrap it towards the door, and shovel it into the bucket. Note: the yellow stuff that’s stuck to the nest box is probably a misfire – a soft-shelled or no-shell egg. That happens sometimes.

















There. All cleaned out. Now go dump that into the compost area. Chickens are great at turning compost. Since it’s all natural stuff in there, it won’t hurt them. I also put our kitchen scraps on the pile. This patch of ground will be prettier than a putting green soon!







Step 5 – Go get clean pine shavings. I keep mine in one of these blue barrels I got off Craigslist for $20. The other barrel has all the feed in it.



Step 6 – Put the nest box back in, then dump the bucket. Scoop some pine shavings into the nest box, then use the hoe to put the majority of it right on the landing zone. They sleep on that perch and, well, bombs away! That’s where all the poop ends up.












Step 7 – Put your tools away, check their water, food and oyster shells (calcium supplement since they’re laying), and don’t forget to take that egg inside!








Photo Shoot

I volunteer for a dog rescue organization and M. asked me to take some pictures. It was a hoot! M. has a funny and tacky-over-the-top sense of humor so this was a lot of fun.

This is Vannah. She has heartworm but is the sweetest dog. This probably isn’t a technically “correct” shot but I liked the half-lighting on her face anyway.

I don’t know this dog’s name, but I called her the Bunny Dog because of her ears.

Here’s Trixie, the spokesdog for the organization. She is featured frequently and she is a great model! This dog doesn’t mind wardrobe changes.

We’re thinking of making her the CEO and this could be her official portrait.

Here’s M. and a few of the gang. There’s about, oh, 30 more dogs running around.

Typical atmosphere here – fun!

Last but not least is M.’s mean dog, Possum. She’s sweet but mean and doesn’t mind nipping at your heels.

I learned a lot at this shoot.
1) I need to keep reading on how to use my damn camera.
2) Dogs move fast, but dogs + people + the occasional child is a little wild!
3) I need to move around more as I’m taking the picture.
4) I need to evaluate the scene quicker and look at *each part* of the photo. I seemed to focus on just one area of the scene and forget other details.
5) I had a LOT of fun!

New perspective

I bought a new lens for my camera and oh my! I took a walk with the dogs and just snapped away, taking a bunch of test shots. Here’s a boring picture of the garden hose on the ground (but good god, look at the detail).

Then I crouched down and tried it again.

Then I looked up.

Here’s my girl. (I’m looking forward to spring – there are only so many dog pictures I can take, after all.) The room was virtually dark except for a soft lamp on an end table across the room. No flash!

I took 48 shots, just messin’ around. Oh my!! Thanks, W, for the tip!!