We heard it was potentially going to snow over the weekend so decided it’s time to deep clean the coop to prepare for the winter.
We gutted the coop and I mean EVERYTHING out of it. We took a vacuum to remove all the left overs and dust. You won’t believe how dusty a coop gets!
The old linoleum was yanked out and replaced with a new, thicker version. Hopefully this one will withstand all the scratching and pecking! It was funny to see the ladies find a torn piece and start pulling and tearing it more. A little frustrating, but funny to watch.
A mild cleaner was used over everything and a light chlorine mix for the nasty spots. Luckily there wasn’t much of that.
The nesting pads were removed and replaced and sprinkled with dried herbs. The herbs are said to deter pests but the ladies seem to like the taste too. I like the smell!
Before I laid out new fresh pine shavings food grade DE (Diatomaceous Earth) was sprinkled around the edges of the coop including in the back corners of the nesting boxes to keep pests like lice or mites from taking over. A quick spray of all natural pest deterrent around the doorways and the shaving went down.
The poop deck got a fresh new tarp cover to make it easy to clean, and then the ladies were let in to take a look a their clean new digs!
If you want to take a tour of the cleaned coop, you can see it on the ladies YouTube Channel:
Evening time has been a little of a challenge in the coop in the winter. The hens all wanted the highest spot in the middle of the flock to stay the warmest. The roosts went higher the closer to the back wall they were and only the highest ranking hens got the prime spots. Top that off with the 2X2 inch wooden sticks that were also at a slight angle and there was a lot of adjusting, squabbling and pecking trying to get ready for bed!
We tore out those tiny annoying roosting bars and put in these long 2X4 boards! Now instead of gripping a small uncomfortable stick they have a nice fat board to put their feet flat down. They can sit down on their toes to keep them toasty warm. Chickens are really not considering flying, perching birds anyway.
Night came and there was far less squawking and flapping, but those girls were still trying to get to the higher bar. My poor hubby had to tear it apart and change it yet again! The final configuration is 2 bars at the same height. There are almost no more arguments now! The only noise I sometimes hear is when one of the hens jumps up into middle of the pack hoping to get a good spot.
One funny side effect of the roosting bar change is they are farther apart from each other now. They were so used to being on top of each other and cuddling together that the first night using the new roosts they were falling over trying to tuck their heads under the bird on the roost next to them! It took them awhile to figure out they weren’t going be sitting as close together!
The last change was the poop decks. Now that we changed the configuration we couldn’t use the custom trays. The new poop deck is just a table underneath. This new design is easy to clean and the girls seem to like hanging out underneath it. It gives them another place to hide.
Take a good look at the roost on the What the Flock YouTube channel:
So…..we should have had the chicks moved into the coop by now but it’s still too cold and the heat lights aren’t getting the coop hot enough yet. The chicks are only down to 65 degree and the coop has been going under 60 degrees. Girls, can we please meet somewhere in the middle?! They seem to be getting too used to a nice cozy basement room.
Well, since they haven’t taken up residence, we decided to add some good stuff to the coop! I read a lot about what they call a “poop deck”. Something you put under the roosts, where the chickens sleep at night, to catch their poop. The hubby came up with his own version……poop drawers! You pull them out, scrape them off into a bucket and empty the bucket into a compost bin! Couldn’t be easier!
We finally got electricity and added the heat lamps. The heat lamps are plugged into thermostats that turn the lights off when it reaches whatever temperature you want.
For the summer heat we added reflective insulation to the ceiling. Chickens can die of heat easier than die from the cold.
Now we just need the chickens! Come on girls! Chill!