Tag Archives: hen house

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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Back Yard Chicken Coop – My first WordPress post – 6 years and counting

chicken coop It seems that June 2009 was my first WordPress blog posting. Not a lot has changed except chicken feed and building materials has gone up at least 25 percent.
This posting has been heavily edited and updated to the best of my knowledge and abilities.

It is getting late in the year to start your new poultry flock. However it is a good time to make plans and to start constructing your coop(hen house) and to design an outside run.
Outside space(run) needs to be a minimum of 4 square feet for each hen, ‘Larger is always better for your chickens health and welfare. {Run length X width = run size in square feet.}

Need a chicken coop? Think small, cheap and easy to build. Best rule of thumb is you will need a minimum of 2 square feet of floor space for each chicken. A four(4) foot square chicken coop will house 6 to 8 chickens with ease. If your lucky you can find enough materials free of charge to build a 4 by 4 foot or maybe as large as 4 by 8 foot (1 sheet of plywood) coop. Check with your friends and neighbors, ask around at construction sites for free ‘scrap lumber.

Home made chicken coop

Home made chicken coop

Salvage and recycle old wood fencing. It seems that someone is always replacing wood fence panels and has a need to dispose of the old panels. Wood fence panels are about 8 feet long and 6 feet tall containing two or three 8 foot long 2X4’s. If your willing to invest a little time and effort this project will cost almost no out of pocket cash to build.
Tools needed are few. A measuring tape, claw hammer, hand saw or power circle saw and a pound or 2 of 8 and 16 penny nails. Enlist the help of friends and neighbors, make it a fun to do project.

Portable chicken coop

Portable chicken coop

If your yard does not have shaded area(s) this coop is enclosed on 3 sides at the bottom, 18 to 24 inches off the ground to provide a shaded area for your chickens during the heat of summer. Without shade in high heat chickens can overheat and die. Keep in mind that it’s construction must provide you with easy access to gather eggs and to clean out old litter as needed. The picture is labeled as ‘portable coop’ but in all truth, it would not be easy to move this coop around without a lot of help.
A solid built coop is very important in keeping your flock safe from bad weather and predators. People are not the only animal that likes chicks, chicken and eggs!

Consider recycling an old unused garage or storage shed into a coop. I often see cheap made, light weight storage sheds being given away by people simply to get them out of their yard. They are light weight and would make excellent chicken coops with the addition of a few ground anchors, nest boxes and a roosting perch.

Simple chicken coop design

Simple chicken coop design

This picture is of poor quality but item (A) is a roosting platform board 18 inches off the floor, wide enough to prevent roosting chickens from soiling your nest boxes with their droppings. (B) is a roosting perch 4 to 6 inches above the board platform. Allow at least 9 inches of roost perch space for each chicken in your flock and (C) is 1 or more nest boxes located underneath the roost platform board.  Remember when constructing you nest boxes to build them so it will be easy for you to remove old nest box litter and refill with clean nesting litter materials such as saw shavings, straw or grass hay. Clean nest box litter will aid greatly in keeping your eggs from becoming soiled making egg cleaning much easier.

Chicken coop with attached wire covered outdoor run.

Chicken coop with attached wire covered outdoor run.

This is an example of a small simple chicken coop with an attached wire covered run to house your chickens as well as protect them from predators. Your yard, with or without fencing and your chicken flock size and available building materials will dictate what type of chicken coop best fits your needs. Happy stress free chickens will produce many eggs for many months for you and your family.

Think healthy food before you snack. Eat healthy.

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