Can Chickens Eat Mashed Potatoes?

can chickens eatCan chickens eat mashed potatoes? Believe it or not, too much of any food can upset the delicate balance in the chicken’s digestive tract. Being Omnivores means that technically, chickens can eat anything they want to eat. Their diet in the wild would consist of varied plants, bugs, dead animals, and live rodents. However, they have some of the choice taken away from them when we keep them in coops and runs.

Faced with a delicious plate of mashed potatoes, next to the regular dish of layer feed, the chicken is going to binge eat those potatoes! In the wild, they wouldn’t have this handed to them in such a great quantity. And there’s the key to the question, can chickens eat mashed potatoes.  They can, but everything should be offered in moderation. Offering too much of any food besides layer feed, free range grasses and bugs, can lead to stomach upset. 

Can Chickens Eat Vegetables Fresh From the Garden?

What about other foods commonly left over from our family meals.  Cooked vegetables are almost always ok to serve to your chickens.  Can chickens eat all vegetables raw, right from the garden? The answer to that would no. Some raw vegetables contain chemicals that are toxic to chickens. Vegetables from the nightshade family includes, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and eggplants.  The solonine in these plants is the toxic substance that can build up in the chicken and cause toxicity and death. The fruit of the tomato and the pepper is fine in moderation, when it its fully ripe. Never allow your chickens to feast on the tomato plants, pepper plants or any of the green leaves from the nightshade family.  

can chickens eat

Note* Sweet Potatoes are not from the nightshade family. They are from the morning glory family and the sweet potato and the leaves are both safe to eat.

 

Greens – Most greens are good for chickens. The exception would be spinach which contains a heavy amount of oxalic acid. This compound, in large quantities can interfere with the absorption of calcium. Small amounts of spinach aren’t a problem but large or frequent feedings of spinach, beet greens or Chard might lead to soft egg shells.

The leafy lettuces, kale and other greens are great treats for the flock. 

Can Chickens Eat Dairy Foods Like Cheese, Milk, Yogurt?

During a recent episode of viral information on social media, a discussion was going on about whether or not chickens can have dairy foods without consequences. There was a huge response with people again arguing that they do so all the time, and have no stomach upset in the flock. Others mentioned that chickens lack the enzyme necessary to digest milk protein (lactose). Yogurt can provide a boost of calcium, protein, energy, and probiotics and yes yogurt is a healthy food for humans. Chickens can benefit from small amounts of unsweetened plain yogurt. It does provide some probiotic benefits. 

However, it is a dairy product. Large amounts of dairy are not good because it can lead to loose stools and upset stomachs. So again, we come back to that age old rule of moderation and small amounts. Feeding a large bowl of yogurt might not kill your chickens or lead to toxicity but it probably will cause some digestive upset.

can chickens eat

Most Chickens Don’t Like Citrus Fruit

There are differing opinions on feeding citrus. There isn’t any definite evidence that it is harmful. Too much citrus and vitamin C, can lead to weaker egg shells because it interferes with Calcium absorption . I am not too worried about this because mine reject citrus fruit anyway. I have heard this from many other chicken owners. 

can chickens eat

Meat Scraps

Being omnivores, chickens can handle eating meat protein. Have you seen the excitement when they catch a field mouse? Even a snake is a delicious form of meat. So feeding them the carcass from a roasted chicken, if you aren’t making bone stock, is fine. Fried or fatty meat should be avoided and anything cooked in a heavy sauce could lead to diarrhea.   

can chickens eat

Legumes and Beans 

Fully cooked beans can be fed to the chickens. Raw beans of all kinds contain hemaglutin which is a natural insecticide and toxic. The cooking or sprouting of beans or dried beans destroys the chemical and then the beans are safe to feed to the chickens. So your leftover green beans and other legumes from dinner are perfectly fine to give as a treat.

A Few Other Foods to Mention 

Onions and Garlic are from the same family but contain different chemical make up. The allium family, particularly onions, contain large amounts of thiosulphate, a toxin. It is interesting though, that garlic contains very little thiosulphate. Garlic is completely safe and extremely healthy to add to the chickens diet.

Chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol are three of my favorite treats. But the chickens should have none of these substances.

Avocados– These actually do contain a fatal toxin in some parts of the avocado. I do not give any part of this to my flock.

Apples– Some people may mention that fruits with seeds and pits can be toxic, too. They can but it’s a much lower toxicity and mostly the chickens will just eat the fruit. To be safe, cut up the apple and don’t feed the cores. Remove the peach pits.  This is not a problem with watermelon which is a favorite treat!

Rhubarb – This is toxic in so many parts that I wouldn’t take the chance of feeding it to my flock. The leaves are toxic to people too so be sure to avoid them in your foraging.

can chickens eat

Toxin Build Up in Chickens

I know many will read this and argue that they or their grandparents always fed the chickens green tomatoes, or onions, or any number of things, and no chickens died. And they would be correct. Very few toxins will kill people or animals immediately. However, toxins eaten on a regular basis or in such an amount that buildup occurs over time, will die or become sick. You may not tie it back to the potato peels you fed to the chickens three times a week. Or the free ranging in the garden where they had access to pepper plant leaves and potato vines.  

It’s the same with people. Toxins in our food build up in our bodies over time. We are just beginning to realize that plastic packaging, chemical dyes, and other contaminants can cause problems with kidneys, nervous system, and the heart. The liver is a prime candidate for toxin build up leading to disease too. Our poultry and livestock are no different. They can eat many different foods that we share with them. It doesn’t mean it is without risk or without an effect further down the road.

What to do 

My final point to answer the question “can chickens eat…?” is this.  As our grandmothers said, everything in moderation. In the past, few farmers kept a large flock of chickens over the winter. The best layers might have been kept but most were processed for food so they didn’t have to be fed through the winter when free ranging food was scarce. Not keeping hens past a year or two probably didn’t show the toxicity symptoms that might show up in older hens. This is your flock. You get to make the decisions. Remember that not every bad decision will have an immediate consequence. Also, not everything you do is not going to endanger the life of your chicken.  

Feeding a good quality layer feed, supplemented with safe foraging and free ranging, and delicious safe treats from your kitchen will help you keep a healthy flock. Meal worms and dehydrated grubs are tasty treats that normally don’t lead to problems. Remember that the answer to “can chickens eat” this food is, only in moderation. 

 

can chickens eat




Chicken Gardening for You and Your Flock

chicken gardeningAre you chicken gardening? What kinds of vegetables should you plant in order to supplement your chicken’s diet? Chicken gardening is slightly different than gardening only for people. Our flock of chickens, ducks, turkeys and guinea hens, love all sorts of vegetable products and scraps.  In the winter months,  I ask the local grocer for the trimmings from the produce and then a feast occurs. During the rest of the year, we are able to grow fresh garden produce and herbs for our chickens, ducks and rabbits.

chicken gardening

Beginning in early spring, we plant the cool weather leafy greens such as romaine, kale, spinach, and cabbage.  Also, broccoli and cauliflower like cool temps.  Getting these plants started before hot weather hits is a must if you want them to survive a hot spell.  Greens are one of the favorite treats for our flock and we save every bit that is not consumed by the humans, for the flock. If your property lacks abundant grass, feeding some other leafy greens can add essential vitamins and minerals into your chickens diet.  Don’t over do the greens however.  large amounts of fresh greens can lead to intestinal upset and runny feces.  Cucumbers are a refreshing treat for the flock.  Placing a large chunk of cabbage into a wire basket and suspending the basket at beak level adds a boredom buster the the flock’s day. 

Herb Gardening for Chickens 

I grow as big an herb garden as I can each year. Starting in the early spring with some seeds and some started plants, I tend the herbs and frequently harvest and disperse to the flocks here on the farm. Since some herbs are tender I grow them in raised beds or container gardens away from the chicken flock. I don’t want them trampled or the roots destroyed by a scratching chicken. 

There are very few herbs that your chickens can’t have as a treat or a health boost. In addition to garlic, pumpkins and dandelions, herbs will do the most good for your flock if fed fresh in small amounts frequently. 

Gardening with Chickens, by Lisa Steele provides many ideas of what to grow in your herb garden for the chickens. In addition to herbs, many other plants are safe for chickens to consume.  The herbs can be used to make infused oils, salves and teas to help correct health issues in the flock, too. 

Many herbs will lend specific benefits to your flock. Check the chapter “Gardening for Orange Egg Yolks” to read more about marigolds, borage, carrots, and parsley. 

Don’t forget the benefit of growing herbs for the coop environment, too. Not only will the herbs freshen the air, calm the hens,and relax the egg laying mechanism, herbs are great at repelling rodents and insects naturally. I love snipping herbs on the way to the chicken yard.  Sprinkle the herbs on the nests, in the feed bowls, and even in the water! An herbal “tea” will add many health benefits to your flock.

Edible Flowers for Chickens 

A great addition to your vegetable garden are edible flowers. Not only are some garden flowers good for insect repellent in the garden but chickens can eat some of the flowers too.  Violets, roses, mallow, daisies and sunflowers are good choices for a garden that you share with chickens.

Pumpkins Take Room to Grow,

But the Chickens will Love the Treat

Pumpkins are an essential treat on our farm.  Last year was a great year for pumpkins and markets in our area were selling pumpkins at the most reasonable price I have seen in years.  I supplemented what we grew ourselves, with a huge box of small pumpkins from the farmers market.  We had fresh pumpkins to give the chickens up until March. 

An added, essential benefit of feeding fresh pumpkin is the natural worming properties.  The seeds of the pumpkin contain a substance that renders the worms paralyzed.  The worms are then expelled with the feces.  We do not have a worm problem in our flock, but I still prevent it with fresh pumpkin.  Eating pumpkin seeds may not cure a heavy presence of intestinal worms but feeding pumpkin can help the gut stay healthy and unwelcome to future worms looking to stay. Pumpkins are also high in Beta carotene which helps promote good overall health.  Make sure you give your pumpkins plenty of room to roam while they grow and provide well draining soil and almost full sun.

chicken gardening

Cool Treats for Hot Summer Days 

By far the favorite treat we plant is watermelon.  Cool and refreshing to humans and flock members alike, nothing beats it on a hot, sultry summer day.  I chop the watermelon into large chunks and they dive right in.  The ducks will gobble up the sweet melon center all the way down to the thinnest rind.  The chickens will eat the entire watermelon, rind and all.  So the pieces the ducks leave behind eventually end up in the chicken run for the chicks to finish off.  No waste here!  If you have leftover cut up melon from a cook out, you can freeze the leftovers to bring out on a super hot day.  Water melon Popsicles!   It’s a nice way to keep them hydrated during the heat. Watermelons also contain valuable vitamins.

chicken gardening

chicken gardening

Legumes – Cooked First!

Beans, such as green pole beans or peas are another item to plant in your garden for both humans and chickens and ducks.  My ducks particularly love cooked green beans. (Feed only cooked or sprouted beans!)  Oh the quacking it brings on when I show up with leftover green beans.   Tomatoes and Corn are also welcome treats.  We have trouble keeping the racoons out of the corn.  They seem to know exactly when we are almost ready to pick the corn. The night before that, the racoons start partying in our corn field.  

chicken gardening

Other Chicken Gardening Cautions 

When you are chicken gardening, you may be tempted to throw the entire plant to your chickens. This is not a good idea.  The fruit of the tomato plant is an acceptable treat, but the green plant is toxic and can lead to illness in your chickens.  Err on the side of caution and only feed the fruit and then compost your plants after garden season is over.

Plants from the nightshade family are toxic.  These include potatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes.  The chemical solanine is contained in the plants and green fruit of the plants in the nightshade family.  Potato skins are toxic. Some people will cook the skins and feed them to the chickens.  I have always erred on the side of caution and not given the potato peels to them, cooked or raw.  If I feed the chickens any potatoes at all, it is cooked first and probably left over from our dinner! We love potatoes too! 

For an even more in depth discussion of harmful plants that you should not give your chickens, read Gardening with Chickens, chapter 4.  Do you know the difference between sweet potatoes and white potatoes?

Other Potential Problem Veggies 

Eggplants – Again, not a big favorite of my flock, maybe because I just don’t give it to them.  

Tomatoes- This is a tough one for me because my chickens have always loved tomatoes. The green tomatoes and the plant itself are potentially hazardous because of the solanine contained in the plant.  I try to limit the amount of tomatoes to a few a week mostly because the flock seems to get some digestive upset from over indulging in tomatoes.

Onions have a different chemical in them that can prove to be toxic to chickens.  Raw onions and the thiosulphate chemical can lead to anemia if fed to the chickens regularly.  I don’t give them onions unless there are some cooked onion in a bit of leftovers from our kitchen.

Peppers- Again, fruit is fine and enjoyed, the plant and any unripened fruit should not be given to the flock. Avocados should be avoided and the leaves from the rhubarb plant are toxic. 

Fruit Trees 

If your chicken gardening efforts include fruit trees, you should know that large amounts of the seeds of apples can cause toxicity and death.  The chickens will enjoy some apples for sure but skip the seeds containing naturally occurring cyanide, to be safe.

Many in the chicken raising community feel that it is acceptable to feed all compost items to the chickens.  The argument has been that chickens will eat what is ok and stop or avoid foods they shouldn’t eat.  In my flock observations, I have not found this to be true.  My raptors will eat everything in sight, and they have free choice layer feed, two times a day of free ranging time and occasional treats from the garden and produce aisle. 

Chicken Gardening and Destructive Chickens 

If you do not fence in the garden with some material that keeps the chickens out when you aren’t watching them, you will not have a garden for long.  Yes, the chickens will do a fantastic job of eating garden pests, aphids, tomato worms and will  help with some weed control.  Unfortunately, their ability to know when to stop scratching, and when to stop taste testing every tomato on the vine is limited.  When using your flock for true chicken gardening, I suggest supervision!

These are just a few ideas to get you started on your chicken garden.   The list of potentially toxic plants is not complete but is based on the more common garden grown produce. There are plenty of sources  available on chicken gardening.  Here are a few more references to help you get started.

 

chicken gardening

Other Suggested Resources on this topic:

Gardening with Chickens by Lisa Steele

What Herbs Keep Chickens Healthy

Free Range Chicken Gardens  by Jessi Bloom available through Amazon.

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, by Gail Damerow

 




Using Hatching Eggs to Grow Your Flock

using hatching eggsUsing hatching eggs is one way to grow your backyard poultry flock. Hatching eggs are eggs from poultry that are suitable for incubating or placing under a broody hen. If you hang around chicken people long enough you will hear the term using hatching eggs being tossed around, as they consider which breeds to add to their flock. Increasing the flock can be accomplished a few ways. You can let your broody hen hatch eggs herself, if you have a rooster in your flock to fertilize the eggs. Purchasing day old hatched chicks is another way to add to your flock or get started with chickens. If you prefer a certain breed of chickens,  purchasing and using hatching eggs may be the most economical way to proceed.

Reasons to Use Hatching Eggs 

Rare or extremely popular breeds may only be available this way.  Shipping live chicks is costly. If you have access to an incubator, hatching eggs can save you quite a few dollars. Once you decide which breed you are interested in, check with local chicken groups or clubs to see if anyone is selling fertilized eggs from that breed. The less time and travel involved, the higher the viability and hatching rate. If no one local is selling, internet searches, posting in groups that discuss chickens, and emailing a breed group may result in someone selling hatching eggs. Many people use Ebay to find the right seller. Look at the customer feedback and selling history before parting with your money.

using hatching eggs

Look for Quality 

The eggs sold as hatching eggs should be normal egg shaped and clean of mud and manure. Small specks of dirt won’t hurt but large smears or clumps of dirt won’t make a good hatching egg and may add dangerous bacteria to the incubator. Cleanliness is important because the incubator temperature not only helps the embryos grow and develop, but it also would help any bacteria flourish. Chicks hatched in a dirty environment have little hope of survival.

The hatching eggs should not be washed before incubating. This is why it is important to keep the nest boxes clean and sanitary if you are considering hatching chicks or collecting eggs to sell as hatching eggs. If you buy rare or expensive hatching eggs and introduce them into a dirty nest or incubator, you probably won’t have a good outcome.

What Does a Rooster Have to do With All of This?

using hatching eggs

A rooster must be part of the flock in order for you to  have fertilized eggs. When the rooster mates with the hen, the eggs become fertile for the next few days or weeks. The eggs will still be fine to eat, and no chicks will develop if the eggs are not incubated.  Collecting hatching eggs from the nests of your flock should be done every day. The eggs should be stored in cartons, pointed end down, and kept at room temperature. The eggs hatching rate begins to decline after a few days, so pack and ship hatching eggs promptly.  Procedures for shipping hatching eggs change and vary. Read some basic practices and ideas on shipping hatching eggs in this post

Using Hatching Eggs with a Broody Hen 

Once you have a seriously broody hen, order your hatching eggs. When the eggs arrive, allow them to settle for a few hours. When your broody hen goes to sleep, sneak the eggs underneath her. The next morning she will think they have always been there and should continue her brooding. Mark the date on your calendar and count forward 21 days. That will be close or the actual hatch date. Bantam breeds develop sooner, often beginning to hatch at day 18 or 19. Ducklings take longer, averaging 28 days. 

using hatching eggs

While your hen is brooding she should get up once or twice a day for food and water and to eliminate waste. Some hens are so serious about hatching eggs that they are reluctant to do this. Encouragement can be used as long as the hen isn’t too upset by it.

The Incubator when Using Hatching Eggs 

If you are beginning your first flock or prefer to hatch the eggs in the incubator, have everything ready before the eggs arrive.  Again, let them settle from the trip before placing them in the incubator. Mark each egg with an X on one side. Turn the eggs a few times a day or set the automatic egg turner to do that for you. Turning the eggs helps the chicks develop correctly. Keep the incubator temperature at 99.5 for the entire time the eggs are developing. The humidity is important, also, and should be kept between 40 and 50%. During the last few days of the incubation, stop turning the eggs or turn off the automatic egg turner. Do not open the incubator after that. It is important that the humidity remain high so the chicks can hatch from the eggs with out getting stuck in dry membranes. 

using hatching eggs

Candling the Eggs to Look for Development 

It is important to check the hatching eggs about a week into the incubation. A broody hen seems to know when an egg is not developing and kicks it from the nest. A non-viable egg left in the incubator can explode, ruining the hatch. Use a candling light to check for development and remove any eggs that show no signs of embryo growth by ten days. 

When your chicks hatch, it is fine to leave them in the incubator for a few hours to dry off. This prevents unwanted opening of the incubator while the rest of the eggs are hatching. If the first hatched chicks are very active and constantly rolling the other eggs around, you may need to remove them quickly. 

using hatching eggs

Hopefully, you will have a good hatch rate when using hatching eggs. Share your experience with using hatching eggs in the comments. 

using hatching eggs

Written for you, as you begin your life with chickens! Easy to follow instructions, ideas, tips and photographs from Hatch to Egg Laying. Chickens From Scratch




Make a Chicken Dust Bath for the Run

chicken dust bathThe flock missed their chicken dust bath and it was all my fault. As soon as the weather cleared and the chickens could go out to free range, they headed right for their favorite chicken dust bath spot. Apparently, I had forgotten this past fall to bring a chicken dust bath into the run or coop. Our fall was warm and the chickens had plenty of opportunity to dust bath their cares away while they free ranged and I did chores. Recently the weather took a turn and we had snow and ice for a few days. Rather than be ingenious, as they have in the past, the flock just waited. In the past I have seen them claim a corner under the nest boxes or some other out of the way spot, and stir up a personal dust bath. This time they just waited. 

And, then the day arrived. I opened the gate to the run and let them free! At last, they had a chance to get away from each other. To run to the farthest fence line and have some personal space.  Yet, they all headed for the local construction zone next door to their coop. The latest coop being built will have a slight overhanging porch area. For now it is the perfect spot to find dry dusty soil for a chicken dust bath. All 23 chickens from this coop huddled together in the same area, flipping dirt and flapping wings. It was a sight to see. 

https://youtu.be/ppH_4TWvMIQ

A few seconds into the video the barn kitty walked up. Three of the hens went on full alert. Then two returned to bathing, leaving Maggie to keep watch.

What kind of enclosure works for a chicken dust bath?

I realized that I better set up a chicken dust bath  in the run or have the risk of mites,and lice on feathers, feet, and dirty looking chickens. I looked around the farm for a large enough container. Since our chickens apparently like the communal, Roman style bath set up, I didn’t want to choose anything small.

I had a child’s wadding pool which works well, but not in the space I wanted it, under a covered corner of the run.  I have seen people use scrap wood, small logs, and old tires to make a dust bath. A cat litter pan is a good choice for one chicken to use at a time. It needs to be deep enough that the soil mixture won’t be easily scattered out of the box every time it is used.  I would suggest at least an 8 to 10 inch depth.  Some people suggest a 12 inch depth

chicken dust bath

My Ready to Use Options 

Last summer I used the child’s wading pool for the chicken dust bath. The drawback was, I never set up an easy to maintain way to cover the dust bath. And then storms happened, the dust bath was soaked, and muddy and unpleasant. It didn’t dry out well, being in plastic container, and I tossed the dust bath mixture out to get it to dry. Way too much effort!  I was determined that I would find a way to build a chicken dust bath under one of the covers in the run.

The wading pool is now being used in the other chicken coop run, where I have more room to keep it covered.  For this run, I chose an empty, shallow feeding trough.  Fits perfectly where I need it and there’s plenty of room for multiple chickens to dust bathe together. I like that I did not need to go shopping for something to use for the chicken dust bath. Reusing what is already on the farm is my go – to method whenever possible.

chicken dust bath

What to Put in the Dust Bath Mixture 

The recommended ingredients for the dust mixture are:

Dry dirt

Builders Sand

Wood Ash (from a fire pit or fireplace) I add a small bucket,  1 gallon approximately, to the large dust bath.  

Diatomaceous Earth – For the large bath I am building here, I added 4 cups of DE powder and mixed it in thoroughly.

The dirt here is very sandy already so I choose to not add more sand to our mixture. The important factors are coming up with a light fluffy soil but not so light that it will harm the chickens respiratory tract!

chicken dust bath

The chickens were in the bath before I even finished adding the wood ash and DE powder!

Do’s

Add dried herbs to the dust bath if you have them. The extra snack while bathing will be appreciated and beneficial.

Don’ts

Don’t add chemicals! Make sure anything added to the dust bath is fertilizer free, chemical free, and pesticide free. Just like our skin, rubbing chemicals into the chickens’ skin is not going to be healthy. If your dirt has had fertilizer added to it, consider purchasing a bag of organic soil instead. 

 

You can use any container you like when building a dust bath. Some ideas for covers, to keep out rain, snow, cats, etc might be a small piece of scrap plywood, an inexpensive tarp, a piece of plexiglass, empty feed bags, or whatever you find! Have you built a chicken dust bath already? Tell us in the comments about your project. 

chicken dust bath

 

 

 




Winter Chicken Coop Cleaning

DSC_0654 Timber Creek FarmMany chicken keepers don’t do much winter chicken coop cleaning. When you notice a slight ammonia smell in the chicken coop, it’s time to investigate the source. You may have to do a winter chicken coop cleaning.   It’s been colder here, recently. We had been steadily adding bedding to the coop during the cold snaps.  I believe in using the “Deep Litter” method of coop maintenance during the winter.  You can read my explanation of this here.

Basically, you will continue to add dry bedding and let the waste material, ie, chicken poop, decompose in the coop to add warmth.  This works perfectly if you can keep the coop dry and not spill any water.  Using straw and kiln dried shavings is the best way to be successful with the deep litter method. The chickens had been in the coop a lot more than usual the past week and at one point a rubber bowl of water had been tipped over.  Anytime moisture is introduced into the environment with chicken waste and bedding, ammonia and odor will form. The best remedy for this is to remove any damp or wet bedding, shavings, straw, as soon as possible.  Allow the area to dry and then replace with new, fresh shavings and straw. 

  DSC_0653Timber Creek Farm coop cleaning 

 

 

 

coop cleaning

How I Perform a Winter Chicken Coop Cleaning

Okay, so what do I do? The temperature fluctuates greatly here in the winter. I know we need to build up some insulation again in the coop. Taking out a good portion of the accumulated straw, leaving the bottom layer of dry shavings intact, is one way to keep some insulating warmth in the coop. I changed out all the nesting areas and cleaned  up under the roost bars really well.  Adding more dry straw to the floor will ensure the chickens stay toasty warm overnight. A good airing out of the coop took care of the ammonia odor that was beginning to form. 

The piles of bedding outside will lend some excitement to the chicken’s lives for a couple of days.  They will pick through for any missed morsels of grain.  There may even be a bug or two hiding in the bedding. I let the chickens scratch through the used bedding in the run until it partially composts. Then it is removed to complete the compost process.

Summer vs. Winter Chicken Coop Cleaning

I only use deep litter bedding in the winter months. During warm weather parts of the year I keep less pine shavings on the floor of the coop, and clean it out weekly. The nest boxes and roosting bar and dropping areas are cleaned daily or almost daily. The humidity here seems to be a big problem for using deep litter coop maintenance in the summer. Keeping less bedding and cleaning frequently keeps flies away and leaves a sweeter smelling coop.

The Timing of Coop Cleaning 

All this coop cleaning was going on during prime egg laying time. I was trying to be quick to get the maid service work done and get out of the way. The line was forming for the nest boxes as I pushed some fresh straw into the nests.  

 DSC_0657Timber Creek Farm

A Rooster in the Nest Box?  Hazards of Mid Winter Coop Cleaning

Then a lot of squawking occurred. I looked over and saw TJ the Rooster in a nest box! Crazy boy. Nests are for girls. I watched as a crowd formed. The hens were clearly not happy about a boy being in the nest area. They let him know he must be moving on. The girls had serious work to do. The coop cleaning was done and I needed to move on too.

winter chicken coop cleaning winter chicken coop cleaning winter chicken coop cleaning winter chicken coop cleaning

Finally they convinced TJ to flee the area. 

winter chicken coop cleaning

All’s Well that Ends Well. 

 

winter chicken coop cleaning