Chickens communicate with more than 24 vocalisations, each with a distinct meaning, including warning their friends about different types of predators or letting their mothers know whether they’re comfortable.

Chicken Coop

Depending on what you’re housing your hens in you’ll need to carry out various tasks throughout the year.

Chicken Coop / Housing

I opted for a 6′ x 4′ wooden hen coop which can house up 12 chickens comfortably.

The frequency with regards to cleaning the coop out depends on the time of year and the number of hens you keep. During the winter months with the shorter periods of daylight, the hens will spend more time indoors and the amount of droppings in the coop will increase. Whereas in the summer months the hens will spend much more time outdoors and the coop will stay relatively clean.

I carry out a mega clean twice a year and disinfect the whole coop using a product called ‘Poultry Shield’, specifically designed to use in coops.

Deep Litter Method

I have opted for the deep littler method approach for my chickens. It’s economical, better for the chickens and you end up with a good supply of composted chicken manure! It’s also supposed to encourage a good balance of bacteria which is beneficial for your chickens and helps to minimise the occurrence of fleas and lice.

If you want to use this method, follow the steps below:

  • Start with a good clean out of the coop.
  • Spread 3″ – 4″ of wood shavings to the floor of the coop.
  • In the winter you need to turn over the litter using a spade or rake each day. In the summer months you only need to turn the litter over about once a week.
  • Add a sprinkling of fresh wood shavings when you turn the litter over.
  • After about 6 months or if the bedding is getting too deep, collect the used bedding and use or store it for chicken manure compost.

Clean Coop – Healthy Chickens

Another option for keeping your coop clean is to each morning after letting the chickens out grab a bucket and cat litter scoop and gather the droppings that have fallen in the night. By doing this it reduces the nasty odour in the coop, prevents the chickens from treading in it and possibly carrying it up into the nest boxes. Don’t forget to store the chicken poo you’ve collected somewhere as it makes great compost!

Weather Proofing the Coop

You need to check regularly that the coop is weather-proof and it’s good practice to re-apply a coat or 2 of water-proofing treatment if you have a timber coop once every 6-12 months. Check the roof to make sure there’s no damp or water seeping through. If the coop does become damp the hens respiratory system can be affected.

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