Nobody blogs about chicken poop dust in your hair…

Day 12 of 365

I generally feel like I live in two different worlds–the classical music world thanks to my son’s interest in and love for the cello and the farming/homesteading world where we talk about things like dirt and poop. Dirt and poop are actually far more important than I ever could have imagined, but that’s another post.

Sometimes, these worlds feel connected. Farmer-ish makes my worlds make perfect sense to me, for example. Sometimes, my worlds feel worlds apart. I don’t think this was ever more apparent to me than yesterday.

My son has made it to the next round in a music competition, and this has meant he’s had to work with a pianist to accompany him. First of all, I had no idea this was even a thing until like two months ago. I am essentially an idiot in the classical music world. I love classical music with every fiber of my being. It can be transcendent to me and is always a joy at the very least. But I know I am an idiot. Thankfully, I am a good listener and a quick learner. Still, I have so much to learn.

Come to think of it, I’m pretty much an idiot when it comes to farming. It is also magical to me. I love good animal husbandry with every fiber of my being, and I can talk about chickens until people want to run away or cry. But outside of chicken care and food preservation, I know about 10% of what I need to know. Thankfully, I am a good listener and quick learner. Still, again, I have much to learn.

But I digress. Yesterday, I had to take my son to the pianist’s home for a rehearsal. The pianist was very kind to us, and her home is beautiful, just beautiful. I didn’t feel jealous like I thought I might in such a situation, but the art and musical instruments were magnificent. Our old house has popcorn ceilings. We try to cute things up, but our home is well–quirky. It suits me, and our property with the trees and garden and beautiful fences Ron built by hand, is lovely. Still, it’s quirky.

I sat while my son played with her, and he did so well. He played well. He conveyed thanks to her. He was polite. All the things you hope for in such a situation. It was a good mom moment. While they were playing, I looked around with my eyes. The lighting was wonderful, and I was in love with the pianos and wall art, which I later found out included framed art from her children’s art growing up. Of course, I thought this was magnificent. I love art from kids. It feels so honest. But I was in awe of the loveliness of everything. Even the books stacked on the table looked magnificent to me. They were all books about classical music, and I wanted to read them.

Then, we came home. I finished grading essays and then had to clean the chicken coop and duck house. I, somehow, decided it was necessary to do a full deep clean of the coop. Maybe it was because I worry about lice and mites when we get a lot of broody hens in the summer. Broody hens won’t go dust bathe, which makes lice and mites more likely. We will soon have to make some decisions about who gets to raise babies this summer. Ruby was first, so she got some hatching eggs. But we will have ten hens go broody any given summer. We can’t bring that many chickens into the world. Our coop has limits, and we want the birds to be comfortable. So some broody hens will have to get ice packs and forced time outside the coop. This helps “break” them from being broody. I will get to choose one more to be a mama this summer. I always try to choose wisely.

So I scrubbed everything in that coop. I cleaned out every nest box and check every broody hen for lice and mites. Then, I started scrubbing chicken poop from the lower nest box and ladders. I’m telling you, there’s nothing like scrubbing dried chicken poop. I generally don’t mind cleaning the coop, but as I sat there scrubbing the dried poop with a scraper, I realized after a bit that my face and hair were covered in chicken poop dust. Yeah, it’s a good thing I wear a mask.

In that moment, I felt light years from my morning in the beautiful home listening to my kiddo play beautiful classical music. He’s playing The Swan. I mean, everyone loves The Swan on cello. And, there I was in the afternoon, with chicken poop dust in my hair. I had to wonder also why I have never seen a chicken blogger talk about the down and dirty of chicken poop dust in your hair.

It’s worth it, of course. I will clean chicken poop until the day I die because I adore these animals and want them to have a good, clean place to live. Still, that moment really made me think about the difference.

Later, when I was giving one of our hens a bath because she was the one chicken out of all of my health checks who had a mites. When I turned on the bath water, the noise scared her, and she flew up and broke the faucet. Just broke it–like we have to buy a new faucet kind of broke it.

I turned to Schumann, who is named for the classical composer, of course,, and said to her, “Schumann, I’ll bet classical musicians never have their chickens break their faucets.”


I have to do a Ruby update quickly. I’m getting a lot of messages from people saying they like knowing what’s happening with Ruby, which just makes my day. She’s actually doing very well. I figured out that she wasn’t eating or drinking very much because she is so broody. So I started today, in addition to giving her treats, holding the water for her while she drinks. Honestly, my Ruby who generally just grumps at me these days because she’s doesn’t want me messing around near her or her eggs, seemed really thankful. So I’ll be holding the water for her every day now. Every broody hen I have ever had was different. Sometimes, they seem to handle things well and don’t make me worry. But I had one who wouldn’t even get off her eggs to go to the bathroom, and I had a three-day rule. If she went three days and didn’t move, I would pick her up and physically make her walk around. I would move her legs for her, until she would go make the biggest poop in the history of the world.

There’s been lots of talk of poop tonight. If you made it all the to the end of this, I promise to give the poop talk a break tomorrow.

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