cleaning out the chicken coop

We cleaned out the chicken coop this weekend.  It was a beautiful weekend for working outside.  A little chilly, but it made us work a little bit faster as well!  We are using the deep litter method for our chicken house.  It seemed like the best idea for us, and obviously the least amount of work.

What we do is we fill the floor of the house with pine shavings.  I know a lot of people use straw, but we like the pine shavings.  When they scratch the litter down, then we add more pine shavings.  It freshens everything up, and the chickens are always happy to scratch away at the new bedding.  I was then able to take the old bedding and spread it all over the garden.  It should give a good amount of fertilizer to my garden space, and then in the spring we (meaning Matt) can rototill the garden and just turn it right into the soil.

The ease of the deep litter method was the first reason that I chose that for our chickens, and the second is the ability of the bedding to act as insulation in the winter.  We really do not want to heat the chicken coop over the winter.  I have talked to several people that do, and several that don't around here.  The two farms we would buy eggs from do not use light, or heat lamps, but they also have more chickens than us.

As of right now it seems to be pretty warm in there.  We have had a few chilly nights, and when I go into their coop to let them out and fill their water up, it is like a blast of hot air when I open the door.  I don't know how this will be as the days and nights get cooler, but I am very hopeful that we won't have to use the heat lamp.  It is a danger that I am not sure I am ready for!

The other chicken related thing we did this weekend was put a top over their run, so they can't jump out of the fenced in area.  It is not my first choice to keep them in the run all day, but we had a little incident with the neighbors dog this weekend.  One of my chickens got nipped in the comb, there was a bit of blood, and a very scared chicken.  She is fine, and the others seemed to leave her alone.  But, it made me realize that we need to keep them in that run until we can get a fence around our yard - which will be moving higher on the priority list for spring.

Overall a very productive weekend, which was nice.  Of course I still have to plant my garlic...and I might need to do that today.  However, with temps only in the high 30's, it won't be as exciting as I hoped for!  My goal is to move very quickly :-)

Do you use the deep litter method for your chickens?

Linking up at the Barn Hop, Your Green Resource, Rural Thursday


  1. We do the same thing as you, including using low-dust pine shavings. I clean the coop out every 3 months and it's time again. I always dread it, but it's really not that bad. We dust everything with diatomaceous earth once it's clean - to keep the bugs out.

  2. Glad you had a chance to get things cleaned out before the cold weather starts rolling in - and I think it's here!!!

  3. Our chickens free range, but we do have a chicken tractor for them. Lately, though, they've been sleeping under our covered porch at night.

  4. I honestly had been wondering about this. With the rain just starting again, I finally started putting straw down cause I have to crawl into the coop to feed them every day. This week I've been letting them out to free range around the yard again on days when I'll be home in the evenings to lock them back in in a timely fashion. But I love reading what you do cause it also reminds me to put the used straw from the boxes/ground into the raised beds as cover rather than tossing it in the compost!

  5. We do use the deep litter method but we use straw. Love your blog! New fan here by way of Homestead Revival. I would love for you to come share at my Farm Girl Blog Fest:
    And while you're visiting, enter to win an Egg Selter too!
    Fresh Eggs Daily

  6. We also use the deep litter method although I try to clean the droppings out every few days because our coop is pretty small. We cleaned it all out about a month ago and scrubbed it was impossible to get it totally clean! It does make for nice insulation though!

  7. Oh I do hope your neighbours dog stays away. B

  8. I used grass clippings and leaves as much as I can -- it's a natural composter in the coop. :)

    1. I never thought to use leaves! And we have a ton right now, thanks!


I love to hear from my readers and try to respond to all comments either here or through e-mail. Thank you for taking the time to comment!