Chicken Innorator


Input for Egg Production

A friend saw the blue plastic chute on our extended chicken coop winter hoop greenhouse and instantly knew what it was for – sticking chickens in when we catch them in the late fall!

He’s right – it would probably work quite well for that but the reality is more mundane. The blue chicken innorator is is a rolled up side-wall portion of a 50 gallon plastic drum that makes cone for feeding the birds from the outside. These lucky fowl get fresh meat, kitchen compost and other goodies in the winter when the insect population has declined to zero and deep snows cover all the pastures. Winter is for surviving.

As the weather gets colder we’ll add a sheet of plastic to turn that front area into a sun room for the hens and their gentleman friend. They have a light that gives them extended hours which helps with the Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) that bothers chickens so much during our long dark winters.

There are still four hens out in the south field who have not come in yet. I know the trees where they roost and will go chicken pickin one of these nights. Did you know that if you rub a stick in front of a chicken that is high up in a tree it will step onto the stick so you can then bringing it down to it put away? All calm and cozy. Pretty cool, huh! Will figured that out.

Outdoors: 48°F/17°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65°F/61°F

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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4 Responses to Chicken Innorator

  1. DennisP says:

    RE your Daily spark for today: so do you?

  2. Brian says:

    Does the sun room / greenhouse feature provide enough extra warmth to keep them laying more through the winter than they would otherwise? I’ve wondered about using a high tunnel or greenhouse in the winter for housing chickens.

    • I don’t find that the chickens need extra warmth. They generate so much heat that their coop stays warm. Except on our very worst nights, below -20°F, I leave the coop door fully open. To keep them laying through the winter I find I have to keep the protein levels up. You can use commercial layer pellets or meat. Meat is our preference and something we have left over (bone picking) from the weekly pigs to market. They also need calcium (crushed egg shells or oyster shells). Then they need a light. I find that 14 hours a day of light keeps them laying. I use a timer set to come on around 3 pm to extend the day during our dark winter months. I have used LED, Florescent and Incandescent lights with success. The hens will molt (right now in fact) during which time we’ll only get a few eggs a day. But once they get past that they start laying again.

      For anyone wanting to start hens next year I would suggest ordering hens (no roosters needed) in December for February delivery from the hatchery. At about four to five months they’ll start laying. This puts them laying in about June or July. That is also as the bugs pickup providing them with lots of free food.

      The one thing about the greenhouses and high tunnels is the poultry peck at the plastic. I think they are trying to get the drops of water on the inside. The result is holes in the plastic. If the plastic is spaced away from where they peck this helps. Or just accept it as ventilation. Don’t close them in completely. Better to have plenty of ventilation for better lungs.

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