Winterizing the Chicken Coop

It’s been a great weekend for getting some things done around our place.  I finally got caught up on my canning, and have been able to attend to some other projects.  I’ve been meaning to get the chicken coop cleaned out, and this morning was perfect for the job.

Once I got the old straw and chicken poop shoveled out, I sprinkled a layer of diatomaceous earth on the floor before putting down a new layer of straw.  Diatomaceous earth is a natural method of controlling fleas, mites, ticks, digestive parasites, and any other insect pests.  Diatomaceaous earth is the fossilized remains of Diatoms, microscopic one celled algae, which acts like little razors on the exoskeleton of insects, slicing and drying them out. A perfect, natural means of keeping your flock healthy.

My husband completed some finishing touches to the coop to get it ready for winter.  The electrical wiring in the coop was pretty old, so he rewired it to be sure it would be safe to run the heated base for the chicken waterer. With the wiring completed, he was able to finish insulating the walls and ceiling.  He also hung a light fixture.  I put full spectrum bulbs in the fixture, and it’s on a timer set to turn on early in the morning and then turn off a few hours later when the sun is finally up.  Giving the girls 14-16 hours of light a day will ensure regular egg production during the winter months.   It’s important to have the timer set to be on in the morning hours, rather than evening, so the chickens won’t find themselves stranded on the ground at night when the lights go off.  As the light fades in the evening, it’s a chicken’s natural instinct to find a roost up off the ground, safe from predators, before it gets dark.

The girls seem content with their digs.

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