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Scooping Poop

A lot of what we do around here isn’t glamorous.  Surprised?! 

During the five or six months that the sheep have access to their shed, they deposit quite a bit of poop in there.  Why?  Well, because given the choice of pooping inside or outside, they’ll usually choose inside.  I often wonder whether they’re marking their territory or just doing it to make us crazy.  In fact, it’s probably because they’re sheep and they just poop wherever they happen to be standing.  But we get to clean it up once a year.

So right about now you’re scrunching up your nose and making a face and thinking “Wow…they only clean the shed once a year…that’s disgusting!”  Believe it or not, this is a well respected/accepted method of bedding animals that was developed in Denmark (or thereabouts).  We layer straw on top of the poop regularly and as it begins to compost, it generates heat.

deep bedding

The bedding gets pretty deep and is quite compact.

 There isn’t any nasty ammonia smell because we make sure there’s lots of fresh air moving through. The shed is very open — no solid doors or windows — and the fresh layers of straw keep the odors at bay.

tractor in shed

We use the tractor wherever we can...small tractors can be useful!

 The sheep are cozy during the winter months and the bedding is breaking down and becoming good stuff we’ll use in the garden or pasture.  Last year, we housed our piglets in the shed after the sheep had moved out and they helped the cleaning process along by rooting up the packed bedding.
clean shed

After a couple of afternoon's work, the shed is clean and our compost pile is revived.

But this year, we cleaned up before the pigs arrived so we just used the tractor and people/pitchfork power to get it done.  All the bedding went into the compost pile and is happily cooking away.

inspection ewe

Spot does a thorough inspection after the shed has been freshly bedded.

 Spot approved our work and showed her gratitude by making a deposit!  Thanks, Spot!

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