We’ve been recently upgrading things around here. We got some new Amish built chicken coops and put up a very large pen for the chickens this past Fall. While we were making all of the changes we decided to try to solve a few problems to making keeping the chickens a little bit easier. Here are a couple of things we did to make life easier!
Turn on that light….
Many times I have been trying to deal with the birds in the dark. If you’ve been keeping chickens very long you know the best time to do any type of hands on care is at night when they’re nice and calm on the roost. So sometimes trying to hold a flashlight and a bird and well…..I’m all out of hands to do anything else! We don’t have any electricity to the coop so my husband installed a pull string solar light right in the middle of the coop. It is wonderful! I only have to go and pull the cord and I have free light right from the sun! I will say you have to work fast with the birds. It lights it up so much they will think it’s morning and come down off of the roost and start getting a little rowdy but it takes a few minutes so usually you have time to do some basic care type stuff. We also mounted a solar powered light on the outside of the coop as well so that if I do have to go down there at night the area is well lit. The cost of those range from $30 to $60.
Here is the light:
The solar panel is a very small easy to install panel that we place on the south side of the coop. You can see how small it is:
Close the door…..
Oh my goodness, this is my favorite new addition to the chicken coop! It’s probably one of the more costly items but it is well worth it in my opinion. We put in an automatic pop door! Now the door opens without the use of ME at 6:00 am and closes at dark! No more running down there in the dark in my dress clothes because we went out that night and it wasn’t time to put the chicks up when we left so I had to go down there after dark. I did that for many years and it is so nice to have a break from that! Now I go down there once a day to gather eggs, make sure the feeders and waterers are good and that’s it! It has been well worth it to me. The particular one we purchased runs off of a garden tractor battery but can have a solar panel charger hooked to it as well which we plan to do in the future. The battery should last for a long time though without any sort of charging. The model we have will work on a timer to open and close according to the time you set or will run on a light sensor and close after dark or open at daylight. It will even shut at night, reopen for 10 minutes and then shut again in case somebody missed getting inside! There are several different models out there on the market. This one took less then an hour to install and I love it! The price for it was around $200 and the battery cost is about $26
Here is what it looks like and how we have it installed. You can see it is fairly easy to do:
Clean that floor….
Another very simple change that we made that I have found to be very helpful is the flooring that we placed in the new coop. I wasn’t sure how this would work out but I am VERY happy with it so far. We put a fiberglass reinforced panel on the floor that you can buy at any big box store. I allowed the coop to air out adequately when we first installed it before putting the birds in there. I also make sure that I cover the floor with a good layer of bedding because it can be a little slippery for them but it is SO easy to clean the coop now. We just rake it out and everything slides right off of the floor. It is also waterproof so you can hose the floor down a little bit if need be while cleaning. A very nice addition to the coop. You can get it at any big box store and is typically used for showers. Price: $30 for a 4×8 panel
Those are a few of the things that have really been nice add-on’s to our new coops. The only other thing that is on my wish list would be a heated waterer due to all of the cold weather it is tough to keep water down there before it freezes! I don’t have any experience with those but hope to have some soon!