So, I keep the chickens, ducks, geese, Guinea fowl and turkeys outside in a very large pen with no lid. Yes, they can fly, but with birds as with most animals, if you give them what they want and need, they do not wander. I have opened a large pen for the ducks and geese so they can eat fresh grass and they love it. But this way of raising birds is a lot of work, which is likely why the others do not do it. I have rubber mats on the floor of the chicken coop which is also where the Muscovy ducks sleep. For winter I want to install a bib under the perches to collect the poop so the ducks do not get shit on all the time. Even if they do not mind, I do. The chickens coop just got cleaned and disinfected and sprayed down with essential oils, plus new perches and new nesting boxes. The previous nesting boxes were wooden and mites and lice could hide in the crevices. The new ones are half small hard plastic barrels, easy to clean and comfortable for the birds. The perches are a huge ladder and I am cutting down on my chickens as soon as I catch them. A lady is waiting to pick up five or ten. There are at least that many babies out there already though and many more to come soon.
Today, the hoop shelter was moved off the straw bales and the area completely cleaned. I even seeded some grass and wild flowers there, though I have no idea if either will grow since the chickens are always scratching up seeds and the ducks and geese eat the grass as quickly as it grows. But I tried.
The extra work involved is twice yearly. The bird town has to be set up every fall for winter use and though there is one permanent coop, there are others for the waterfowl and turkeys that are added. The chickens are the only ones with an insulated, but not heated coop. As soon as spring comes, the chicken coop is thawed enough to clean out and then it gets cleaned every month or so until winter again. The bedding piles up in winter, but with the poop net, I may not have to add so much bedding making spring cleaning a whole lot easier.
There is one more coop to move but there is a duck on a nest in it. She soon should hatch her two eggs and be on her way. Tomorrow the goat pen behind the bird town will be cleaned too. The rabbit kennel was moved and that was cleaned up too. There is a huge pile of mostly straw with a little poop from the birds and the rabbits. I will let that sit for a while just where it is and turn it a few times to aid the composting. Then I will push it out of the main yard to the far pen where there are more piles like that waiting to become marketable manure. $10 dollars for a large sack of well rotted manure from the farm will add a little extra income.
I also cleaned up the area where the calves were in the winter later in the evening so the motorhome could be parked there. I need to sell it but it is literally falling apart. The motor is sound, but it is a 1989 model and needs work so the selling price will be cheap.
So, after cleaning the bird town again this spring, I am thinking the other folks who leave their poor birds in their litter and eat the eggs should come and see this. Would they do it? Likely not, but yes, I will. And I eat the eggs and know they are clean from clean birds. Want some (eggs, not birds, silly)?