Remember when I talked about the winter chore schedule? This week is one of those I mentioned where the temps are back up to almost springlike.
Yesterday I cleaned out the deep litter in the chicken coop and now we will start that all over again. Deep litter is great when the temps are near or below freezing; and some winters I can leave it for the whole season. But this week is warm and wet- perfect conditions for the chickens to go in and out tracking mud. Once the straw gets soaked and dirty, it's harder to keep it stirred up. It will start to smell bad. The mud will also cling to the hen's feet and get all over the eggs when they lay if they don't have fresh, dry straw to walk through on the way to the nest box. One advantage to a mid-winter clean-out is there will be less to scoop out in the spring.
I also got a load of wasted hay out of the goat pen. Last year was one of the worst for hay wasting here. I hauled out load after load of it. That's some back-breaking work. We're revisiting our hay feeder plan this month and hope to have an improvement in the design soon. Until then I am trying to stay on top of the scooping before it gets out of hand. It's almost impossible to get it out when it's frozen so the weather break is a win for this.