Thursday, October 6, 2016

Parenting Pointers: Deck the Coop

From Lisa Steele, author of editor of Fresh Eggs Daily and author of the winter release Gardening with Chickens

Many of us enjoy putting up chicken coop decorations for the holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or just the winter season itself, decorations are festive and look cute. But what if I tell you that there actually are some practical reasons to put up decorations?  Here are my three suggestions for Practical Chicken Coop Decorations:
Practical Decoration #1 - Nesting Box Curtains
Studies have shown that chickens are more apt to lay their eggs in a dark, secluded, private location. Hanging curtains over your nesting boxes can help with egg production, as well as discourage egg eaters. An added benefit of hanging curtains in the winter is that they will help retain warmth from the hens' body heat in the box and  keep your eggs from freezing. Particularly if you live in a far northern climate and aren't able to collect the eggs frequently throughout the day,  frozen, cracked eggs can be a problem.
Practical Decoration #2 - Christmas Lights
If you add supplemental light to your coop in the winter to keep egg production steady through the months of less daylight, why not swap out your light bulb for a string of Christmas lights? They emit enough light to stimulate the hens' ovaries and keep production rolling - and are a far lesser fire hazard than a regular light bulb.
Practical Decoration #3 - Pine Boughs
The scent of pine is a wonderful mouse deterrent. Families of field mice consider your warm, dry, straw-filled coop a perfect place to bed down to escape from predators and the cold, but adding some pine boughs inside your coop can help rid it of the pesky rodents and help them decide to find someplace else to bed down for the winter.
These three simple decorating ideas are not only practical, but combine so beautifully to lend a rustic holiday feel to your coop, making your chores on even the coldest, most blustery day a bit more cheerful and pleasant.

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