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Sunday, November 17

prepping the coop for winter along with a little revamp!

Yesterday, as we worked hard to cross off some things on the never-ending To-Do List, I said to my hubby, "I really need to remember to have outdoor things wrapped up by the end of October!"  Even though the sun was shining, the wind was brisk and it was chilly. Sporting winter garb...coats, gloves, and with hoods up and earmuffs on, Hubby was cutting boards for the goat fencing, I was painting them, and together with our son we moved limbs to a woodpile that will surely be a spectacular bonfire when the time is right. 

Each fall I add a heavy tarp to the smaller section of the chicken coop run...it helps keep out wind and drifting snow, and gives the girls a place to stretch their legs during the winter storms. I add a heated waterer to the coop, and I have to tell you, this year I found a brand that I think is terrific!  Each year I use the traditional waterer and have always said there must be a better design.  The hole to refill it was so small water was always splashing as it was begin refilled. Then there's the agility test to flip it over as quickly as possible without spilling the water again...each year it's incredibly frustrating.

However; this year, I found a new design in our local feed store and I love it!  It has a large opening on the bottom for easy filling, a screw lid and handle, so I can actually fill it and carry it easily. No more spills!  It has an egg-shaped top to keep perching at bay, and a filter that's easy to remove and clean out all the pine shavings that my girls insist on kicking into the water.  Click here: to take a look...I can't recommend it enough, and no, I am not being paid to endorse it. It's simply a great reinvention of an old design!

I went down the winter check-list for the coop...

secure tarps around the smaller run

check doors/windows to make sure they close tightly
check the roof for leaks

check for cracks or holes in the coop that would let in cold air
add fresh pine shavings

secure heat lamp/test bulb*
feed tin full
extra forage cakes/scratch

heated waterer

*I know many people don't add heat to their coops, but I've found that in our area, where nighttime winter temperatures can drop into the single digits, I want to keep the girls warm. Even with our insulated coop, the open fields around it mean the wind chill can be incredibly cold. Before clamping the lamp to a ceiling beam, I make sure the wiring is in good shape and the bulb is new. I also make sure the lamp is tucked into a corner so the girls can get out from under the heat if they want to.

Now the girls (and one bachelor) will be warm & cozy when the snow flies!

Earlier this spring I did a little revamp on the coop...some paint, vintage-style signs from the feed store, a solar lantern for a little indoor light, and colorful tea towels stitched into curtains made all the difference. Here's a quick peek:


I found this old screen door in the back of the barn...it is so heavy (which means the girls will be safe) and was a perfect fit for the coop door. It was so nice to have the girls enjoy a little breeze on the hot summer days.

And so that was our week on the farm...next week I'm preparing for our daughter to come home from college for Thanksgiving break, our son's 16th (gulp) birthday, and a friend will be bringing me a prim cupboard soon that will be perfect for the "shop" I'm planning for our milk house.  Will show you that when it's here!  So excited to make plans this winter for it...remember: never stop making wishes!


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