Thursday, January 07, 2010

More snow chicken stuff

Here's the chicken house after I gave them their water and opened their little door. The little door is on the other side of their coop and it opens into the fenced run. The door slides up and down to open and close. I open it with a cable that goes up through the roof and across a pulley, then hooks onto a screw to keep the door pulled up and open. I had to brush some snow aside to find the cable and the screw to hook the cable around.

The dark spot on the right is where I backed up the truck too far and the hitch went through the wall of the chicken coop. It wasn't one of my prouder moments.

Snow is surprisingly heavy. I sweep the snow off of the coop roof and then prop it open with a scrap of 2x4. We have cylinders in the coop to help lift the roof but after rain or snow it's just about as heavy as I can manage, even with the cylinders. With the roof propped open, I can get eggs, fill their feeder, throw down some scratch, and check that everything is generally okay. I put the scratch down on their litter (wood shavings) and they stir it up. This keeps the chicken house cleaner and less stinky than if I just allow the poop to pile up and cover it with a new layer of fresh shavings every so often. I am sold on the "let them scratch through the litter" method of keeping chickens.

Here they are happily in the house, eating up the scratch. We currently have one rooster and eight hens. Our rooster is a beautiful fellow, keeps a good eye on his girls, and is not at all mean to us. We like him very much. The purple blue stuff is Blu-Kote and when the chickens get wounded or naked from the rooster pulling their feathers, I spray them with the Blu-Kote to help them heal. I like to spray them in the evening when they're on the roost, because they are still and calm then. So I sometimes hit the interior wall of the coop with overspray.




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