Every year, as the weather turns cold, my husband starts closing down the windows of the chicken coop. He means well, but every year I go through an explanation of why it’s very important to keep the chicken coop well ventilated, and why it’s even more important in cold weather. Chickens generate a lot of moisture, ammonia, and heat – so it’s absolutely critical to ventilate well to remove the excess from the coop. The more time your chickens spend indoors, the more important it is to supply good ventilation.
Why Coops Need Ventilation
Chickens generate lots of water vapor, from both [...]
Continue reading Keep Coops Ventilated – Especially in Cold Weather!
I’m so excited – one of the Buckeyes has gone broody!!! Raising the Buckeyes was a great experience (see Raising Day-Old Chicks), but I was hoping the Buckeyes would retain their instinct to go broody, and raise their own young – I’d rather they perpetuate the flock (why should I do the work if they’ll do it naturally?). So, when one hen showed definite signs of broodiness; Randy quickly constructed her a broody box inside the coop.
How To Tell If She’s Broody
In many chicken breeds today, the instinct for raising young has been bred out; because “broodiness” was considered undesirable in factory laying hens. However, some of the [...]
Continue reading Building A Broody Box
Spring finally seems to be here, so in the first semi-dry weekend, we cleaned and inspected the year-old chicken coop. We use the “deep-litter” method for managing coop sanitation, which basically means putting down a 4” layer of pine shavings (the “litter”) mixed with a little diatomaceous earth, adding more pine shavings as the ratio of droppings to shavings gets too large, and cleaning in the spring and fall (see Deep Litter & Healthy Chickens). For the health of the birds, it’s important not to let ammonia levels get too high, so it’s a good idea to clean before spring [...]
Continue reading Semi-Annual Chicken Coop Cleaning & Evaluation
Ok, this post may be a bit “deep” (sorry for the pun), but I’ve been researching chicken litter management. For the past couple of years, our chickens were either housed in an Eglu (with a pull-out shelf for dropping removal), or in a barn stall, where we could shovel dirt and bedding in and out as necessary for sanitary control. However, now that we’ve got the new coop (see New Coop), I’ve been investigating the “deep litter” management method.
What Is It?
The “deep litter” technique originated in Ohio in the 1940’s, and was an important development in poultry management because it [...]
Continue reading Deep Litter & Healthy Chickens?
After the new coop arrived, Randy wondered whether we should “paint the inside” to protect the wood, and make it harder for chicken parasites to hide-out. Not knowing the answer but thinking it sounded reasonable, I asked on the Backyard Chicken forum, and the response was unanimously in favor of painting. Everyone noted how much easier to clean, better-looking, and pest resistant coops were if treated before being put to use.
One responder to that post (thank you!), also suggested that Minwax (Helmsman) Spar Urethane was a product that they had researched, was safe, and would be good for protecting the inside of a chicken coop. We did [...]
Continue reading New Chicken Coop Protection
On Friday, June 11, our new chicken coop was delivered. It has some nice features: it’s elevated, has eight nest boxes accessible from the outside, three operable windows, a built-in roosting area, chicken hatch that can be opened from the human door, and back ventilation hatch. It’s 8′ x 10′, and they even used dimesional shingles on it that match the house.
Coop Front View
Here’s the back wall ventilation hatch (can be adjusted or closed), and the roost area that’s built in:
Roosts & Back Ventilation
Below is the coop after we got it moved into place:
Coop In [...]
Continue reading New Chicken Coop (with surprise)
We kept our chickens in a 10’ x 10’ stall in the barn; but, since we’ve ordered 25 day-old chicks and are planning to give the stall to some Dwarf Nigerian goats, new chicken housing is in order. There are so many options it’s hard to choose what to buy or build, but there are a few things I think should be considered (books told me I needed roosts, nesting boxes, ventilation, etc. but didn’t necessarily mention these things):
Chickens are dusty! And our entire barn is now incredibly dusty due to the chickens. I never noticed that every [...]
Continue reading Chicken Housing Basics
Randy did a terrific job building a new nesting box for the hens, and Spice had to check it out.
New Nesting Box and Spice
We put it in the corner of the chicken’s pen and added golf balls to give them the right idea.
Installed Nest Box with Golf Balls
The Golden Buff hens got the message right away, they love the new nesting box.
Ginger Checking It Out
Will, Gold Dust, Ginger, Eggnog, and Babs posing in front of the nesting box.