Sunday, January 29, 2012

Chicken Coop Care

Caring for hens is fairly easy compared to other pets.  Like other animals, chickens are healthier and happier if they live in a clean house (coop).  My coop used to be a three-sided barn used for cows.  To convert the barn into a coop, we added laying boxes, a roosting area, and put up siding on the open side to help keep them warm in the winter, and to protect them from the south wind.  The coop has a dirt floor .  I keep a layer of hay over the dirt.   Brody and I clean the coop out about once a month and add the used/dirty hay to our compost pile.  We add fresh hay or straw and let the girls scratch and peck through fresh hay to find bugs, seeds, or whatever else they might see that appears appetizing.  They love fresh hay!!!   

Chicken Coop 2010

Enhanced Chicken Coop & Yard 2012
 Recently, I figured out that I had a mite infestation problem.  I had to "dust" all of my girls and Mr. Rooster with DE Powder.  Our local feed store carries food grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE).  This is an organic alternative to other products often seen in stores -- such as Sevin Dust, etc.  To help prevent another infestation, I sprinkled DE powder under the hay directly on the dirt floor, all over their roosting areas, in their laying boxes, and in their dusting box.  

Roost (where they sleep/rest)

Laying Boxes

The white powder is in the picture above is DE, which is completely safe if ingested. It kills mites, ticks and other harmful insects.  Mites are especially nasty little bugs that get on hens and suck blood from them.  If left untreated, mites can be fatal.   Through a tip from another blogger friend, I found an interesting blog-site about hens (Tilly's Nest)  and picked up a tip about using a gadget called a pest pistol (pic below). This handy little gadget allows me to dust in cracks and crevices to get all of those nasty critters - especially the ones that like to hide.  

Pest Pistol

Where I purchased my Pest Pistol - Treats for Chickens Website
More information about DE - Keep Hens / Raise Chickens website


  1. Nice improvement!!! Gathering those nice warm eggs was always one of my favorite things to do. You are taking good care of your girls!

  2. We have done lots of work, but we thoroughly enjoy our girls, and want them to be safe and happy! I enjoy gathering eggs too - it's the fun part.