The yard where the chickens and goats live is hard-packed, decomposed granite. It doesn't do a great job of absorbing rainfall, and we've had a considerable amount of rain this week. Yesterday, with some dread, I went out to see how everyone was faring. The chickens don't mind rain, but the mud and muck isn't great for their health and happiness. The goats definitely have a zero tolerance policy for any water... drips, sprays, standing, falling! And they avoid mud, puddles, soggy ground, too. Honestly, no one wants to muddle through.
These leaves, and the barrel full of pine needles, are what save the day when I need to give the chickens and goats dry ground. We don't recycle our yard waste at the curb any more. Now it's collected in covered bins, and I use it to fill their shelter, and lay over puddles and the muckiest mud. The dried leaves smell good, so do the pine needles. Everything gets a generous layer of dry, clean clippings, prunings, and fallen leaves. I don't even do much to spread it around. If left in heaps, the goats love to forage through it, and the chickens delight in scratching and pecking. In no time, it will all be spread about.
Cozy, and tasty, that's what the goats say! They looked so relieved when I filled their shelter. No more damp corners, no more sloshy ground. And in a few weeks, on a sunny day, we can rake everything out, and add it to a compost heap. Everything will be well broken down and exceptionally ideal for going back to the yard as mulch, or in time, great, organic gardening soil.