Winterizing Your Hen House

Winterizing your chicken coop.
Keeping your chickens safe, dry and warm this winter will insure you have a steady supply of fresh eggs through the cold winter months.

Install a full daylight spectrum, 6500K color temperature CFL light bulb on a timer so your chickens get a full 15 or 16 hours a day lighting from artificial and sun light will keep your hens laying well year round.

The annual cost of operating a 150-Watt Equivalent Daylight (6500K) Spiral CFL Light Bulb 6 hours a day at $0.11 a kilowatt is about $9.50 a year and you can expect you bulb to last 4 to 5 years.Your cost to light your hen house will be about 80 cents a month.

Currently at my location sunset is about 7PM. To get 15 hours of lighting I wake my chickens by setting my time to turn the lights on at 4AM an off about 8:30AM. Every month or two I will adjust the timer as needed to keep 15-16 hours a day lighting in my hen house.

Look for and repair as need rodent damage, places where rats, mice or snakes can gain entry into your hen house.

Clean windows and vent screens to allow winter sun light in and vents to allow fresh air to circulate in your hen house. Chickens will spent a great deal more time in their house during cold, wet or snowy winter weather.

Insure that you have feeders located to keep feed clean, dry and away from rodents.
Fresh water is very important to the health of your flock.
You may want or need to invest in an elect powered heater to keep your chicken watering devices ice free this winter.

Carefully inspect and repair fencing as needed. As food becomes harder to find and catch, predators like raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, stray dogs and cats will be looking to snatch a quick easy meal and your chickens will be high on their menu.

Remove old nesting materials, bedding from nest boxes. scrape sweep and remove old litter materials from hen house floor.

Put straw and old nesting materials on your garden as winter mulch on add it to your compost pile.

Wash hen house walls, floor, roost and nest boxes with a mild mixture of soap water and household bleach.
Mix bleach and soap water at a 1:5 mix rate. That being 1 part bleach to 5 parts warm soap water.
While not an exact 1:5 mix rate, to 1 cup bleach, add water to make 1 gallon of disinfectant wash water.
Keep chickens out of their house until walls, floor and nest boxes are dry.

Hint: There are a number of industrial and household disinfectants what work well. Be sure to follow ‘all’ mixing and usage instructions, warnings and caution statements. Wear eye protection and always wear rubber gloves when using any cleaning chemicals or disinfectants.

Fill nest boxes 1/4 to 1/3 full of new clean straw, grass hay or what ever is your choice of nesting material.
Spread 3 to 6 inches deep straw litter on hen house floor. This will help keep your hen house clean, dry and will also help keep your hen house a bit warmer than a house with a bare floor.

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7 responses to “Winterizing Your Hen House

  1. I have this on my to do list…all 5 hen houses! Time to prepare for snow in Michigan!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good information here. We switched to wood shavings for our nest boxes a couple of years ago. They keep the eggs much cleaner than straw. My wife discovered this… I was a champion of straw because we grow it, but she was right, shavings are better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tried shavings, but the hens kept kicking shavings out of their nest boxes, so I went back to grass hay. Grin.. being frugal ‘not’ cheap. We always have a round bail or two of grass hay for the horse and donkey.
      Happy Gardening

      Like

  3. Here where we often get down to -25 with three foot of snow so we put insulation boards on the outside of the coops then cover in plastic for a secondary waterproof cover, inside is layered with a deep layer of sawdust then hay placed on top of it. No extra lighting as we do not have the means to do it but luckily although production slows down our hens still lay during these conditions and we have yet to lose any through the cold though a couple had a touch of frostbite last winter. My fault, lack of sufficient airflow through one coop. Even in these conditions they are out and about we even dug out tunnels and paths for them last year, our neighbours thought we were mad, they are probably right!

    Thanks for a good reminder and checklist again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t speak for the chickens, but, as for me, I would not handle deep snow or -25 degree weather well. YUK…
      Never though about needing a snow shovel to dig pathways for chickens in my coop.
      Happy Gardening

      Like

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