There, you have the picture. Whenever my respirator slipped I sure thought, "This stuff stinks." Not, of course, that I didn't already know that. I've dabbled about in enough chicken manure, both dry and wet, that I am well acquainted with the odor. However, when mixed with decomposing straw as well, the smell increases.
If you haven't guessed by now, I got the second chicken coop cleaned today. It really was worse than the other one and I don't think I got it quite as clean, but due to the walls being wire paneling and tarp instead of wood, that is a little understandable.
The worse part wasn't the smell, believe it or not. It was the MILLIONS of chicken mites. The press-board "wall" on the west side was literally crawling with the disgusting beasties!! They look a lot like ticks, which doubled my creeps. It was rather inevitable that I got covered with them. Anyway, we burned the press-wood wall and nesting boxes--this was after I had used up nearly an entire bottle of vinegar trying to kill them. (Vinegar kills fleas and ticks, so I figured it would work on another bug.) I killed some of them like that, but it didn't really put much of a dent into them. I spent the rest of the afternoon, until I showered, killing them whenever I spotted or felt one on me.
It took several hours and many trips with the wheelbarrow to clear out the floor space. I then hosed the thing down and hopefully any remaining evil mites drowned in the deluge.
Shortly after I finished, Mr. S showed up with my new queen (I paid for him for her, of course) for the new hive and we put her into the nuc between two frames--the very thing that Mr. Bush does not recommend. I am considering this a bit of an experiment. :) I think my new bee-keeping friends are a little more by-the-book industry standard than I am inclined to go. I will definitely listen to their advice, but I will make up my own mind, which I am thankful that they are encouraging me to do. That is the kind of advice that I like...these are the reasons why we do such and such...but you make up your own mind. I think it was over on Mr. Bush's site that I read something along these lines: "There are as many different methods of bee-keeping as there are beekeepers." I suspect that is rather true...and I am sticking to foundationless--even if it's just because it's cheaper at this point.
That reminds me, I spent a hunk of the morning figuring up pricing and shipping rates from three different companies. I think I'm going to stick to Brushy Mountain for the time being for my supplies.
I sure have a stiff back...