In North Carolina, winter is not on our doorstep by a long shot, but it’s certainly on my mind and homesteading tasks are geared toward preparing for winter.

Since both of us had Labor Day off, we slept in until 8:30 a.m. Then we got right to the day’s major task: cleaning out the chicken coop. It’s a big job! Thank goodness Oscar was there to help.

I use the deep litter method in my chicken coop. The deep litter method involves allowing the chicken waste and bedding material to decompose on the floor of the chicken coop instead of being scraped out and replaced on a weekly basis. As the bedding gets dirty, you just toss on another layer of pine shavings. This keeps the smell down and the chickens healthy. Most appealing, though: you only have to clear everything out twice a year, instead of every week.

First, we emptied all the spent bedding out of the inner coop – all the way down to the floor.

Scraped down to the hardware cloth

The chickens were not impressed with our efforts. At first, they hid in a corner of the run. Eventually, though, we didn’t pay enough attention to keeping the run door closed and they snuck out. Oscar said, “I guess we aren’t going anywhere today.” (I only let the chickens free-range when I’m at home.)

Some of the hens kept coming in to complain that they needed to lay an egg and there was nowhere to do so. (They still refuse to use the fancy next box I have for them.)

When we finished clearing the inner and outer sections of the coop, we put a new layer of sand in the bottom of the inner coop. Then filled it with new bedding.

It didn’t take them long to find their way back into the coop

The compost pile received a major contribution. The spent bedding will continue to break down into some awesome soil over the winter.

We need to pick up more sand and bedding for the outer coop; but first – I need a shower!

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