Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Monday 15 December 2008

Not Singing in the Rain

We had a torrential downpour here on Friday night, it was very wet indeed, the rain lashed against the windows and doors of Compost Mansions, and on Saturday morning I found the garden saturated and more importantly the chicken runs awash with mud.

YUCK! Henny had laid an egg in this liquid mud and I am afraid I threw it into the wood, I really didn't fancy an egg which had been submerged for a few hours in liquid mud/poo.

Well it was not possible to leave the chickens to paddle around in this level of mud, so Compostman and I got togged up in old, warm clothes, wellies, gloves etc and went out to do battle. We first moved the hen run sideways,

dug out all the gunky mud, (see! I DO do some work! ;-) )

and then put down a lot of sand to mop up the wet mud. This also will raise the level of the ground and help it to drain a bit more, as we are on solid clay here and it does get VERY wet underfoot!

We put the Cluckingham Palace run back in place and I then added some straw at the chicken house entrance end of the run to help provide some drier stuff so the chickens dry their feet before going inside at night.

This also stops them putting their mucky feet all over their newly laid eggs and making them dirty, which means I can't sell them! The tarpaulin was also extended back over the run so most of it is now sheltered from the rain.

I also put down a "hen board"* inside the run, and cleaned out the house. The "hen board" was the back from an old garden bench which fell to bits, but it was just the right thing to put in the run to keep the hens off the mud!

It IS a good job we keep stuff here...you never know what might come in handy!

I then repeated the process with the Eglu and run, except that was not so muddy inside so I just put down some straw in the run and cleaned out the Eglu itself.

I also cleaned out all the feeders and drinkers, added another feeder in the Cluckingham Palace run so there is a choice for the lower order hens, and laid some straw /sand paths across the mud between the houses and the gate.

I am trying to avoid completely ruining the grass I walk over to get to the chicken orchard, but I fear I may need henboards* down to actually stop it happening. In the longer term I think we will have some sunken paving slabs down as a permenent path to the hens.

We emptied and moved a big compostbin, so I now have somewhere to store up the chicken poo and soiled bedding until I want to add it to the compost bins.

The Chickens, meanwhile, enjoyed a scratch aroound in the outside raised beds.

We started all this just after lunch and I finished just after this amazing sunset was gracing the sky.

The hens were very pleased to be dry footed I think! So an afternoon well spent we hope.

* well they can't be duck boards, can they?


  1. What a busy afternoon you both had. I hope your girls showed their appreciation, LOL.

  2. A good afternoon's work CW - it's always very satisfying to clean out the hen houses and runs, isn't it?! So nice to think of them dry underfoot instead of paddling!
    Willow x

  3. How really satisfying! We did the same on Sunday... it was so wet for the poor chickens so moved chicken house and all around. Grass getting a bit thin now! Love your pics.

  4. oh, I would not be singing in the rain either... but kudos to you for getting it done when it needed it.

  5. I've tagged you for a green meme. The details are on my blog, play along if you want to.

  6. Ugh theres been some heavy rain hasnt there,I know exactly what you mean abut doing some stepping stones in the way in to the hens,mine have wood chips in the enclosure,fine,marvelous stuff,the area outsde of that they pootle on it moved around so its not getting tooooo oozy but yecuuhh the path I tread from off the concrete path to get to them is dreadful now,I think a few stepping stones will let the ground around recover & hopefully spring will bring some regrowth lol! I am going to get some more wood chipping for their bit out the enclosure,simply its much nicer for them than wading thru mud yuch!
    GTM x
    ps we are still getting 4 eggs a day argg am glutted in December lol!

  7. Thanks for explaining the "henboard" I really don't know how on earth it happened but I didn't see that one coming!!!


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