It’s March 24th and we have been having an unusually dry spring in Michigan this year. Normally we have a lot of spring rain by now and rain is what is predicted for the rest of this week. Today it is now or never for the coop litter refresh!
The litter situation “before.”
I did what I call a “lick and a dab” clean out of the deep litter in our chicken coop. This litter has been building up layer by layer throughout the winter and consists of sand, pine shavings, leaves, chicken food and small bits of poop. I do scoop it out everyday to keep it as poop free as possible, but with teenage poultry there are always small bits left. The deep litter method is one way to help keep the coop a bit warmer during the coldest and snowiest months of a rural SW Michigan winter.
A few easy scoops out followed by a whisk broom clean out.
The litter situation after the clean out; fresh and clean.
Early this morning I scooped out the coop using a small camping shovel and then I brushed it carefully out. I let it air out for several hours and then replaced the soiled sand with clean sand. I still plan to do a very thorough clean out this summer when it is warm enough that I can really hose the coop out top to bottom and spray and scrub using the natural orange cleaner I made this winter.
But it was still below zero this morning then I did this project and not only are our outside pumps not turned on yet, I did not want to risk washing out a coop that might not have time to thoroughly dry. Rain is predicted tomorrow and throughout the rest of this week so putting the chickens back into a damp coop was certainly not a good idea.
Our pile of chicken coop sand after the winter. Covered up it stayed fairly dry.
Now that I have fresh sand as litter again in the “Chicken Chalet” I will go back to using the daily plastic, kitty litter scoop clean out process each morning. And all will be well until the weather turns warm enough for a hose and a scrub.
Small House Homestead, chicken keeper, Donna
P.S. When I put them to bed for the night they freaked. They do not like the sand only/all one color tone coop bottom. I think that maybe the all one color sand looks likes like a bottomless coop and they were definitely afraid to jump in. I had to put some leaves back in to give them the confidence that all was well. Chickens do not like change!