There is less wasting of time, energy and other resources when you work efficiently. It is my preferred method; I can get more done in a day that way.
I give credit to my dad for this one. A while back he mentioned he wanted to find some of those mats that are sort of like fake grass. They used to sit by most front entry’s and were great for getting the bottoms of your boots semi-clean any ways. I happened upon them when my husband and I were out of town. I picked up a couple for dad (and later a few for us too). You see, these can be cut to fit in the nesting boxes for the chickens.
The mats I picked up were about $14 each. It took 2 of them to fill 6 nesting boxes. You can buy ones made specifically for this purpose but they tend cost more and are no guarantee to if a custom made box. I know, I’ve got straw bales and I’ve got hay bales, why would I want to spend money for fake grass rugs in the coop? For quite a number of reasons; all really worth-while ones too!
The hay/straw gets picked through, some munched on and all usually ends up on the floor. Then is the problem of poop in the boxes which sticks to the eggs and a few cracked shells from the eggs being laid on the plywood. By putting the mats in the boxes the eggs no longer crack when the hit the wood and if/when the birds poop in the box it goes into the “grass” and the eggs come to the house much cleaner. The eggs still need a rinsing but they look a heck-of-a-lot better than they did before.
Cleaning the boxes is a breeze. I just lift out the mats, spray them with the hose when needed and they are as good as new. There is no scraping scat out of the boxes trying to get the corners cleaned. There is no more trying to keep at least some of the straw in the boxes. It’s great!
The first couple days after putting the mats in the boxes I did put some straw in with them, mostly to give the chickens something to scratch at and get them used to the new texture. It only too a day or two and they didn’t seem bothered by the change.
I can’t stand the wasting of anything, especially feed. All winter long I had been going nuts when we would clean the coop. There was always a wheel barrow load of feed that was scooped off the floor and wasted. I would have loved to put it back in the feeder but even I know it was not all feed and reusing it would not be wise.
We tried pellets, and tried having the feed ground smaller and then went back to the usual whole/cracked feed we started with. Nothing seemed to make a difference in their wasteful ways. Finally I have got it figured out. I put a tub just a little bigger than the bottom of the feed pan underneath. It catches the feed they dig out and rather than it being wasted on the floor it can be reused. The tub is tall enough that they don’t kick shavings into it and small enough they can’t sit on it and poop in it. Perfect!
It’s the little victories that can make my day.