Just a head’s up; this one is all about the chickens. If you would rather wait and read about the family, or homeschooling or horses or gardening, that is fine with me.Don’t feel like you need to read it..
Maybe tomorrow I will have a post about something else. I realized this morning that it was the 1st of December and we could start an Advent devotional. The kids and I talked about it and I told them I would look around and see what’s out there or what I have at home. Watch for a post about that soon.
Back to Chickens…
I have been playing around with bedding in the coop lately. I am always, as I suppose many of us are, looking for cheaper and more efficient ways to keep the coop clean. The reality is that animals poop and make a mess. It needs to be cleaned up no matter what you put down for bedding. Not anyone’s favorite job I suppose, but part of having kids and pets. (yes, kids need fresh bedding once in a while too!)
The last time I had cleaned my coop, I had some mulch that I put down first to help absorb some water and manure and just make it a bit warmer in there. Then I topped it with shredded paper. I kept adding paper to it as it got wet, which it does often because we have had a lot of rain this fall and the coop leaks. Next spring we are hoping to build a more permanent structure. For now, we have added a tarp to the roof to try to help keep it dry.
What I found when I cleaned the coop?
A big wet soggy mess.
I suppose I would have had that whether I used shavings, sand or paper. It had rained a LOT over the week prior to coop cleaning day. Everything was wet.
So I guess I cannot say for sure one way or the other is best yet. After cleaning out and airing out the coop for a couple of hours, I threw Diatomaceous Earth all over everything to hopefully wipe out some mites. I have seen mice around the coop, which is not surprising, so I added some rodent poison under the coop where other animals cannot get at it. I was hoping to watch the chickens get a mouse, but they missed.
I am almost out of bark mulch right now, so I got some bales of shavings and put down a thick layer, along with some of the shredded paper. They seemed to really like the new bedding and went right back in after it was cleaned.
Unfortunately, I am still only getting 2-3 eggs a day for some reason. I have just over 20 laying hens of several breeds. There are 10 new hens which have started giving me eggs sometimes. The others all seem to be molting or done molting and still not laying. I am not sure what is going on with them yet and I am hoping that the cleaned out coop will help get them laying again.
These pictures are from the last year or so. If you have any ideas I should look for with my hens to get them laying again, let me know.