Your animals will be most happy if their shelter is draft-free. When Dan built this chicken coop, he re-purposed our pine baby crib in the process. He built walls and added both sheet and spray foam insulation. The coop itself is pretty snug for these hens. However, their little outdoor run can easily get filled with snow drifts if precaution isn't taken.
Don't you appreciate a well-shoveled walkway? We think little hens also appreciate a space they can get some fresh air in without having to waddle through snow.
Everything around the yard during fall becomes useful. See baby's playhouse in the background? It houses a few bags of leaves that will be used to add new bedding to both the coop and the run as it needs to be replaced several times over winter. A warm pile of dry leaves is quite cozy for an animal.
Hay bales were used to surround much of the run to ward off drifts that would come in from the west. We used our fall deco bales that we had out on display in the front yard. When neighborhood folks put their fall deco bales out for garbage, well, we went and took those, too. It's all extra protection for the chickens.
The cornstalks that decorated our split rail fance and bean garden will now act as a windbreak. Winds come from the west, so a solid grouping of stalks tethered together help keep too much wind from entering their little run.
It was also time to bring out the winter watering can. This waterer is galvanized metal and sits upon an electrically heated pan. A little extension cord then ensures that the hens' water won't freeze during the night. They will always have a drink ready to go. Believe me, you don't want to be sloshing around a bucketful of new water every cold morning when you're headed out the door in your work clothes.
It's also good to tuck a little hay in here and there, or wherever you think snow might start piling up.
We also put our frost-bitten mums out by the coop to add the last bit if cheerful fall color to the landscape. They no longer look ravishing by the front door, but their crisp curling petals add a little burst of fading color to this now browning landscape.
It is also important to keep the path to the egg door clear. When snow starts dumpin' down, it won't be so bad if ya just have to clear this little walk-way. If you had to dig the whole coop out so the girls could get outside, well, that's just tiring thinking about it.
So, here are the girls busy checking out their new landscaping! They're prepared to get warm and cozy.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
Somehow, we both feel we're really gonna get it hard this year, as forcasters are predicting the worst winter ever. Dan said he feels like he got the girls ready just in time. One more weekend might have been too late.
This post has been updated for
The Talent Scouting Party at WhisperWood Cottage
for C&B Magazine
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