I love my Chicken Mulch Cycle!
The chicken make the straw for their bedding, add fertilizer, and their bedding becomes mulch. Zero cost.
First, cast the feed in the grass for the hens to eat. Maybe 2-3 days in the same place. They scratch it all up, and then it looks like this:
I rake it into feed sacks, because we have lots of feed sacks.
The chickens produce far far more hay than could ever be needed in their coop. They could probably keep me in enough straw for all my gardening mulch needs if I raked assiduously enough.
Fill the coop with the straw. I find it’s nice fluffy straw, too, like angel hair. Maybe that’s the grass, not the chicken effect.
Chickens poop on it. Every day I cover the poop with another light layer of straw, to keep chicken feet and chicken eggs nice and clean.
When the straw mat comes up to the perches, it’s time to clean out the coop.
I find I can just roll up the straw/poop cinnamon bun
and put it in the wheelbarrow.
This is the dog’s favorite part, because dogs are disgusting, and equal-opportunity turd-eaters (let no turd go untasted). Usually the chickens want to inspect the process at this point too.
Then the coop gets a thorough raking out and a new starter blanket of straw. I used to sprinkle some diatomaceous earth around at this point too, but am desisting in this season because DE is deadly toxic to all bees. The birds are at their healthiest now, anyways- unconfined, with lots of bathing options, so the DE stays stowed during the summer.
With my dozen chickens, I clean the coop every 3-4 weeks.
Then the wheelbarrow goes a-mulching trees and the garden, completing the cycle. I think of it as a slow release nitrogen dose.