Monday, November 23, 2009

Winter snuggle down

Winter time is a slow season for us. The garden is pretty low maintenance. Outside activities are less due to the rain and darkness. We pretty much snuggle down and wait until spring.

We still do a little gardening. After trying various types of pvc housing we gave up and set up simple hoop frames. I have some pretty great ideas for greenhouse frames, but like most things, it will have to wait for spring.

We got our last batch of chicks for the year. From now on we will replace the entire flock every two years. This will keep our egg production higher and our freezer full of meat.

While we have a nice brooder pen set up in the coop, we still keep the babies in our shop until they are a week old and no longer need 24 hour light.

And as far as I can tell making adjustments and additions to a chicken coop are just part of the program. We keep adding, tinkering and fixing all the issues that come from poor initial planning. I think we've fairly well got it there now.

Here the roof has been covered by two large tarps. The metal roof underneath kept the brunt of the rain out, but little drips make for wet litter. As we use a deep litter method, keeping everything dry means keeping the ladies warm.

We added metal roofing along the lower edge of the coop to cozy it up more and keep the rain out. I think it also makes it look kind of high tech.

This is the view of the roost area. The tarps obscure the cool windows, but keep the poop pit underneath drier, which keeps the ammonia down.

I always like adding a new bale of straw. It gives the girls something to dig in and makes the whole coop smell nice. With the tarps and metal walls, the straw should stay warm and fresh for most of the winter.

One problem with home made nest boxes, the milk crates on the right, is they generally don't have a perching deterrent. The chickens love to sleep on the top and poop all night in the nesting material. Which is lame. So I used a couple of feed bags stapled to the wall. They are slippery and make noise when walked on. Chickens hate that!

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