Sweeping the Yard

Here is something many small-time homesteaders, especially urban homesteaders, may not know; you have to sweep the yard where your animals are confined! Yes, you really do! I did it today, and have to every month if I want the goat yard to stay nice. With very little land and no real room to rotate “pasture” I have to clean up after my animals, just like you would a dog.

Now, if you are blessed to have enough space to move your animals around, or they can spread out any time they want, this isn’t really necessary. You clean up the barn in those cases and are pretty good to go. For those of us an an acre or less, we really have to clean those pens. This isn’t any harder than cleaning a barn, really, it’s just something that needs to be done on a regular basis. Here is how to do it.

First, pick a nice, dry day with as little extra wind as possible. Pick a place to make a compost pile. It’s best to remove the waste from the animal yard, though I do pile it in a corner for a couple of months before shoveling it into a wheelbarrow and moving it to the compost pile. This seems to make my life a little easier and still keeps the yard clean. Be sure to avoid being uphill from your water supply as the feces can contaminate it.

Now, the hard part. I take a large garden rake over the yard first, especially in grassy areas. This removes the large pieces of wood we bring our confined goats to chew on. After going over the yard with the garden rake, I take a plastic leaf rake over it to rake up most of the poop. It works really well, and what it doesn’t get ends up broken up and fertilizing the soil. If you can, move the animals to a new yard for a few months to allow pests to die off and vegetation to grow. If you can’t do that, a plain yard with no vegetation is best to prevent parasites in your goats. And that is how the urban homesteader has to sweep the yard. Your animals will thank you, and you will spend far less money on garden soil and wormers!

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About nigerianmeadows

I am a homeschooling mother of 2 autistic children and cook gluten-free, I homestead on 2.5 acre and raise goats and chickens for dairy and eggs, I garden, cook, quilt, and take photographs. I build, paint, scrub, and dance on tables. I am the ultimate WOMAN!!! Oh, yeah, and I like my husband a whole lot (he is the one that makes all this possible, and he loves me like no other!)
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4 Responses to Sweeping the Yard

  1. pobept says:

    Grand ma and great grand ma would sweep their yards every Saturday morning at first light.

    Grinning.. They did this because they could not afford to spend hard earned cash on grass seed, water and lawn mowers. Grinning

    Happy spring gardening

    • I know! Love your comment! I thought about adding a little history lesson, too, haha! There was a time when grass in the yard was looked down on. Too much risk of fire, as well as snakes! It’s amazing where we are today and how much we spend to maintain something that many are allergic to. We have been removing grass from our yard and replacing it with garden, but we leave some planted in hay grasses to cut for the animals and for the kids to play in.

  2. laura little says:

    This is such a great post! I did not know this myself until recently when I was watching a video by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (of all things) and they had a section on keeping ourselves and our property clean. They focused on what we would consider a primitive living situation, but some of the things that struck me were that they swept the yard to clean up after their domestic animals, they always removed their shoes on the steps leading up to the house and left them outside so as not to bring feces into the house. This was not too much of an issue when we only had chickens, but with the addition of the rabbits and goats this became a vital piece of information. Thank you for mentioning your schedule also, as I always wonder how often I should do things. Really great post.

    • Thank you, Laura 🙂
      Keep in mind that my schedule is based on how many animals I have and what I observe as being needed. I consider it a maximum time frame, and will sometimes do it more often if I feel the yard needs it. I was amazed the first time I raked and figured out I could clean up after the animals and make their lives so much more pleasant, and chore time far less dirty!

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