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Monday, March 12

spring cleaning the coop...

It's been almost a year since six delightful chicks came to live with us...

Henrietta, Hermione, Spotty, Alex, Cinnamon, and Hershey have brought us lots of smiles and certainly lots of eggs! I'm no expert on chicken breeds, but I have to say ours were generous with their eggs while the days of winter were short. Our hens are Tetra Tint (a mix between Red Sussex and Leghorn breeds) and Golden Comet and we couldn't be happier with them.

It was my intent to give the girls the winter off...no lights were in the coop to trigger continued laying. In spite of that, most days we gathered 6 eggs, with our lowest count being 4, while our highest count was 12, but that's a post for another day! 

And so as Saturday began blue-skied and cloudless with a temperature in the 60's, it was the perfect day to clean out the coop after a long winter. The girls enjoyed stretching their legs while we got to work, and in no time at all the coop was fresh & clean...yay! I'm sure the girls are happy and so am I! So, just in case it might be helpful to new chicken owners, I thought I'd post our spring cleaning schedule. 

spring cleaning the coop...

~let the girls out of the coop...close the run door to keep them outside 

~open windows to let in fresh air, remove feeders and waterer, gather eggs

~lay a tarp outside the coop door (You could set a wheelbarrow to catch old bedding, but because we used the deep litter method for winter (meaning the bedding was up to 10 inches deep) there was a lot to remove, and laying out a tarp was our best choice.)

~using a rake, remove all bedding material, empty nest boxes, and clean the roost with a wire brush

~once bedding is removed, broom out any cobwebs, dust, or remaining shavings from the corners

~disinfect coop surfaces with a mixture of 1:10 bleach and water. A spray bottle makes it easy to apply to all surfaces...let them dry completely

~check coop for any roof leaks, drafts, and see that all D-clamps and square lock pins on nest boxes and doors are secure. Are the windows in working order and does the roost need repaired?

~we placed a remnant of vinyl flooring over our coop's wooden floor...it not only keeps the wood underneath dry which will make it last longer, but makes cleaning much easier. The flooring is pulled out, scrubbed and mopped, then allowed to dry. (Vinyl flooring is for adult hens only and not a good choice for young chicks...they can easily slip on it.)

~once everything is thoroughly dry, replace vinyl flooring, top with fresh bedding, and fill nest boxes

~feeders and waterer are cleaned, then reattached to S-hooks on chains (they should hang level to the hens' backs)

~give the run a once-over and look for any signs of outside digging, bent or broken wire,
or general wear & tear

I hope this helps...and if you're thinking about getting chickens, I can't say enough how much fun we've had this past year...their chatting, squawking, chicken races, and soft nighttime clucking has given us hours of entertainment. And going out to the backyard to gather eggs for a family meal...what could be fresher?

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