October Chicken Coop Checklist: What To Do In Your Coop In October

October Chicken Coop Checklist: What To Do In Your Coop In October

It’s fall, y’all….and that means you gotta make sure your backyard chickens are ready before the cold sets in.

 

I know in some parts of Canada (looking at you, Alberta) that it’s already snowing….but for most of the United States, it’s just starting to get cool.

 

And there’s lots you can do right now BOTH to celebrate the season AND prepare your flock for the upcoming wind and ice.

 

Although chickens weather winter pretty well in most locations (their feathers help!), just a few tweaks can mean an easier time when the mercury dips.

 

Even if you live in a temperate climate, there’s ideas on this list to help your backyard chicken flock stay healthy year round.

 

There’s also LOTS of treat ideas to make the most out of fall!

 

Give a good clean out before cold sets in

Now is the time to give your coop a final clean before the cold makes it miserable outside. You likely won’t want to clean it again (a deep clean at least) until the spring thaw.

 

In addition to sweeping out any old bedding, be sure to wash off any accumulated poop on or under roosting bars, and wipe down nesting boxes that might have bits of broken egg or feathers lodged in them.

 

If you have a wooden or cement floor, give it a good wash to reduce the chances of ammonia build up, which can effect your chickens’ lungs.

 

Decide how to keep water from freezing

Now is the time to figure out how you’ll keep water unfrozen in your chicken coop. Will you use heated bowls, solar energy, or add water throughout the day?

 

There’s lots of options (you can view them in this article about keeping water from freezing), and you’ll have to find one that works for your particular situation.

 

Remember, what works in Southern Missouri likely won’t work in Northern Dakota, right?

 

Keep an eye on local super markets for pumpkin sales

This time of year, there’s lots of pumpkins to buy. Don’t pay retail – wait until they go on sale and stock up for your backyard chickens.

 

Pumpkin is very healthy for chickens, with lots of vitamins and nutrients for chickens – and they love pecking at it!

 

Most stores start to discount pumpkins well before October 31.

 

Pumpkins keep for a while, and stored in a cool, dry location, you can have healthy treats for your hens for the next month or two!

 

If you REALLY want to buy one now, you can make a cute coop decoration by carving out a pumpkin into a flower pot.

 

After a week, you can then feed it to your chickens! Just make sure you use flowers that aren’t poisonous.

 

Help molting hens or hens experiencing feather loss from roosters with a high protein diet.

Yep, every fall, some or all of your chickens will lose their feathers due to molt.

 

It’s normal – and there’s something you can do to help regrow those feathers quickly!

 

Giving your flock a high protein diet that include black soldier fly larvae or Fluffiest Feathers Ever! (28% protein) is an easy way to provide a high protein diet – and chickens LOVE both!

 

Double check coop security – food is getting scarce for predators.

While predators might leave your fluffy butts alone during summer, as the days get shorter and food becomes more scarce, they might turn an eye to your chickens.

 

Now is the time to check that your coop is completely secure and make adjustments as needed.

 

Make sure all doors and windows latch tightly, and upgrade the wiring around your coop if necessary. You don’t want predators to get OVER your coop walls or UNDER them!

 

See tracks and not sure what predator is hanging around? Check out my predator footprint guide here!

 

Head out to farmers markets and/or orchards.

You can usually purchase seconds (bruised or unattractive fruit that’s still fresh and edible) for pennies on the dollar. They still make great treats for your fluffy butts!

 

Some great ideas for fruit and veggies to feed backyard chickens are peaches (without the pits), apples (without the seeds), and leafy greens!

 

You can also grow your own leafy greens over winter for your backyard chickens with this guide.

What To Do In Your Chicken Coop In September

What To Do In Your Chicken Coop In September

September is here…..which means it’s time to think about what to do in your chicken coop in September!

 

It’s pumpkin season, and there’s lots you can do in your coop this month! Help your flock stay healthy and keep your coop in top shape with these tips!

 

If it gets cold early in your area, do a final deep clean before cool weather sets in.

You won’t want to do it when the ground is frozen and you need 3 sets of gloves to stay warm. If you live in a temperate area, now is still the time to deep clean your coop before the days get shorter and you run out of time.

 

You can also decide if the deep litter method is for you.

silkie pullet backyard chicken

Double check windows/doors for tight seals during chilly fall nights

When the wind is howling and there’s freezing rain, those tight seals can mean the difference between life and death. Just double check all your windows and doors seal well, and if not, fix it.

 

Offer your flock pumpkin and/or pumpkin seeds every week. They’ll love the treat, and it’s super healthy for them!

Pumpkin is full of vitamins and minerals, and chickens LOVE to peck at it. The pumpkin seeds might (repeat, might) help your flock rid themselves of worms (studies are inconclusive, but it’s can’t hurt), or at the very least, provide a yummy distraction since bugs and leaves are dying off.

 

You can also make a pumpkin planter like this one, and offer it to your flock when you’re done with it. Just be sure not to paint it!

 

If you have chicks, double check your coop stays the right temperature at night.

This will depend on the age of your chicks – if they only have down or are partially feathered, they will need your help to stay warm.

 

If not, either fix it or come up with a plan to keep chicks warm enough until they’re fully feathered. Remember that heat lamps get very hot and can cause a fire, so avoid them.

 

Hang some fall wreaths or add fall flowers to window boxes

Fall is all about color – and adding a wreath or flowers to your window boxes can brighten up your surroundings and help your flock feel pampered.

 

Backyard chicken coop window

 

If your coop is painted, do a fresh coat before cool weather sets in so your coop looks bright and colorful when the leaves are gone.

Ditto above. When fall’s colors fade, you’ll be glad you made the extra effort to repaint your coop so it looks cheerful even when it’s grey outside.

 

Start adding even more protein to your flock’s diet with mealworms, black soldier fly larvae, or Fluffiest Feathers Ever!

If your flock is molting, a high protein diet will help their feathers regrow. High protein diets also make sure flocks are in great shape to battle the cooler weather. You can feed a high protein diet or treats full time, or just during the molting season.

 

Make a plan for how you’ll keep their water from freezing

It’s bound to happen if you live in a cool area – so now is the time to decide how you’ll prevent freezing, or at least keep fresh water consistently available.

 

Here’s my best ideas for keeping your chickens’ water from freezing.

 

Spend more time with your flock – soon, the weather will be cold and you won’t want to be outside as much.

Nuff said. Here’s a great treat you can make – it includes pumpkin seeds, sage, and more!

 

Add a light to your coop if you want eggs all winter.

As the days get shorter, your hens might stop laying. This is natural, but it’s okay to still want eggs all winter. If you do, then add a light to their coop.

 

If you don’t have power in your coop, you can use a solar generator or a battery powered light. The bulb should stay cool and be a daylight simulator. You can also use a timer to turn it automatically on and off.

Keep Your Chicken’s Water From Freezing (Without Electricity)

Keep Your Chicken’s Water From Freezing (Without Electricity)

Let’s face it. It’s pretty hard to keep your chicken’s water from freezing without electricity in the winter.

 

When the cold arrives, I struggle to keep water from turning into a frozen block.

 

And without a water heater? Just that much more difficult.

 

I know many of you are worrying about how to keep your chicken’s water from freezing without electricity this winter, so I wanted to share some tricks that have worked for me.

 

These tips will also work well if you have ducks, turkeys, quail, or any other kind of poultry.

 

So, if you’re worried about how to keep poultry water from freezing, remember that these tips aren’t just for chicken water!

 

Chickens- Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock AD (1)-min

 

Use a big water tub

 

Typically, the larger the bowl is, the longer it takes to freeze. With our 40 gallon rubber water troughs, they rarely freeze in winter.

 

If the top freezes, below that layer of nice usually rests unfrozen water. I just use the heel of my boot (assuming there’s no cracks in them!) to break the surface ice.

 

You can scoop it out and refill the tub so your hens don’t run the risk of falling in as they try to drink.

 

Using a large waterer to keep your chickens water from freezing isn’t always realistic, especially with younger chickens (such as pullets) that can’t balance well on the edge and might fall in.

 

But if your flock is older and they’re able to not get themselves into deadly situations, then using a large tub is one way to prevent freezing.

 

Use rubber or plastic water dishes

 

I mentioned above that rubber waterers are best for winter, and in most cases, it’s true.

 

Rubber conducts cold less efficiently than stainless steel, and it will take longer for your chicken’s water to turn into a solid block of ice. Rubber bowls also tend to be less expensive than stainless steel.

 

Plastic is another option although in my experience, it doesn’t retain heat from the sun as efficiently as rubber.

 

Which brings us to….

 

Black water tubs

 

As we all know, black absorbs the sun’s rays better than any other color out there.

 

So, black rubber water tubs are more likely to keep your chickens water from freezing without electricity than probably anything else out there.

 

If you’re not 100% sure how to keep your chicken water from freezing, then relying on heat from the sun is definitely more cost efficient than buying an electric water heater (and potentially safer).

 

Dark blue, purple, or burgundy would work as well, but steer clear of lighter colors.

 

Ping Pong Balls

 

I’ve had marginal success with this, but other people swear by it, so I wanted to mention it.

 

You can grab a packet of ping pong balls at your local dollar store and float them on the top of the water.

 

The idea is that as the wind moves the surface of the water, the continued movement of the ping pong balls will keep your chicken’s water from freezing.

 

Now, you’ll be relying on the breeze to do the work for you. And if your water tub isn’t deep, the ping pong balls will get stuck as the water freezes around it.

 

So, it’s worth a shot, but you might want to use the ping pong balls in conjunction with a black rubber tub.

 

Ducks

 

Believe it or not, if you keep ducks, they’re pretty good at keeping your chicken’s water from freezing.

 

Ducks automatically want to splash and play in water – keeping the surface constantly moving so it can’t turn into ice.

 

Again, a deep dish is required, and you will have to keep it full because your ducks will want to dunk their heads and bills into the water.

 

In most cases, the ducks will be fine if they get wet – they have down! And unless they’re young, they can figure out when to stop.

 

Hand warmers

 

I’ve successfully used commercial hand warmers (the kind you don’t open until ready to use) with small stainless-steel mason jar waterers.

 

In this case, using stainless steel waterers works best because the metal will conduct heat from the warmers, keeping the water just above freezing temperatures.

 

Just stick the heater below the metal bottom, and replace as needed.

 

If you have quail or smaller chickens that require only a mason jar waterer, this solution works well, particularly since smaller waterers will freeze much quicker.

 

Starting off with hot water

 

If you’re going to be gone part of the day and want to make sure your flock has access to fresh water for longer, you can give them hot H20 when you fill their dish.

 

Just make sure it’s not boiling, otherwise your hens might burn themselves.

 

If, throughout the day, you notice their water turning to ice, then refill the bucket with hot water.

 

You can also do this at night, although chickens are less likely to drink water in the dark, since they’ll want to get some shut eye.

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Have you been worried about how to keep your chicken’s water from freezing without electricity this winter? Which of these ideas will you try? Leave a comment below!

 

Keep your chickens water from freezing this winter with these genius hacks!