As those who know me will be aware, my partner and I are part of a chicken co-op. (Or should that be coop?) Each couple let them out, lock them up and feed them one day a week and one weekend in five. This gives lots of flexibility for when people are away, have meetings or other things that might get in the way of their normal duties.
Then one weekend in five we get to clean them out! One of the huts is really easy to do and well designed. One was a bad purchase by a new couple joining the group and is now much better built than the original design but while it has some nice features is still a bit of a pain.
The third we were given along with some chicks. This one is also badly designed, especially as some of our group grow older and have to be careful of their backs. Today as partner is not brilliantly well, (nothing serious) I am cleaning them out on my own.
Not a big deal, have done one hut, two to go. (We have found that keeping them in three flocks of maximum size 10-12 stops some of the pecking problems we have had in the past. I am taking it easy with plenty of breaks.
One problem of the arrangement is that neither I nor anyone else in the group get to do everything the way we would like. – To increase the flock size, I would buy eggs to put under broody hens rather than buying point of lay pullets. As we work with consensus decision making this saga will run and run. I would also like us to have a strategy to work towards not buying any soya based layers pellets. This would probably mean getting fewer eggs but hopefully would cost less. However getting everyone to agree on this is also not likely to happen quickly!
Interestingly, there are three other groupings keeping chickens cooperatively on the allotment site now. They have slightly different ways of doing things but I do know that the other groups have also had disagreements about how things should be done. Perhaps it is inevitable and chicken keepers are like bee keepers in that whenever you ask two of them a question you get three opinions, (at lest!)