Today it was time to bed down the chicken coop. Notice, I didn't say it was time to clean it out. In the winter here in Minnesota we use what is called the "deep liter" method to keep our coop clean. What this method entails is that we keep putting down wood shavings through out the winter, especially under the areas where the chickens roost at night or frequent during the day as insulation over the cement floor. The liter grows thicker as the winter grows colder and the top layer also gives the chickens dry and clean shavings to dig in and get under their feathers to clean them out. (The only drawback of using this method is the half-day process it takes to clean the coop out! Just ask my kids...it is their least favorite chore.)
Here is a picture of the coop before I started to bed it down:
And here is a picture of what it looked like after I finished:
OK, to the untrained eye it may look about the same, but to my chickens it was a happy welcome to their dull days of being shut up in the coop for the winter. And if you want to know why they aren't free ranging around in the winter - it is because chickens HATE snow. I have tried to get them to go out for multiple years, but batch after batch of chickens do the same thing: They look at the snow out the coop door and the stay inside.
Oh well, as long as we keep their light running, they keep laying. We get an average of 22 eggs a day. Here is a picture of them right out of the nesting boxes.
And, here is a picture of them cleaned, dated, and ready to be refrigerated until we get them to our customers.