Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chicken Coop Potpourri!

Yes, your coop can smell good, too, just like mine!

Really! It smells fantastic! Since I started making my Coop Potpourri and tossing in bundles of lavender... now when I open the door, I get this lovely wave of floral herbs. I just love it!

So here's the scoop on getting rid of the poop (well, the poop smell anyway)...

Walk around your yard or garden (or a friends yard - with permission, of course!) and dead head those marigolds and lavender. I also like to cut a few nice looking flowers as well, especially since they're growing so abundantly this year! Just toss it all in a large bucket. (Some of my lavender, the Provence variety, had long stems which I cut off before adding).

Next, prune back some of those herbs, such as rosemary, mint, thyme, etc. It's actually good for the plant, so be brave and cut! Toss all this in the bucket as well, cutting it into smaller portions as you do so. Another option is to cut back the larger plants, such as rosemary, and then pull off the needles by running your fingers over it from top to bottom. Then toss the stems. Don't forget fragrant trees, such as bay leaves (I'm growing several as an evergreen hedge to protect my beehives from winter winds).

Everything gets tossed together and allowed to dry a bit in the bucket. Once it's dry, you can bag it up for use all winter long when the coop is shut tighter than normal. Just think how nice it's going to smell!

As you can see here, I couldn't wait to add some to the nesting boxes. When it's time to refresh the nesting boxes, I just dump the contents right on the floor and add more pine shavings and potpourri for the hens - about a fist full seems right.

My motherly Cuckoo Maran hen seems to enjoy the fragrance during her confinement. She's sitting on 6 eggs and expecting the second week in October if all goes well.

And that extra lavender (trust me, I have a ton!)... it gets tossed on the floor where the chickens move it around as they scratch in the hay and pine shavings. Plus, it gets crushed underfoot when we walk in the coop. Between the two, it releases the oils and fragrance adding a pleasant scent that covers up the less-than-desirable smells.

I was surprised that it really did't take a lot of plants to produce enough coop potpourri for the winter. Use whatever fragrant plants you have, but try to incorporate plenty of plants that have medicinal properties and act as bug repellents and such. And don't forget to add this to your tickler file so you remember to harvest these plants annually for your chicken coop potpourri!

Next year I think I'll raise some additional flowers and herbs to mix in. Chamomile, thyme, scented geraniums...

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