Among the many time consuming and expensive improvements to the chicken run, I have also made some small and inexpensive improvements recently. I found that as the girls are in the coop such a long time at this time of year, I was crouched in front of it poop picking in the morning for a longer stretch. This was making my back and hips ache. I decided I needed a mat of some sort to kneel on. I then found the perfect mat, it’s a rubber exercise mat and was on sale for six pounds. It was full length so I cut it into four mats. I now kneel on it each morning to poop pick the coop and this simple mat has made my life easier, no more aches.
When changing the wood shavings in the coop, I noticed that the wood floor was getting a bit wet. I decided to put the metal tray from the rat cage we have (we use it as a transport cage if needed), over the coop floor to protect the wood. This also means I can pull the metal tray out to change the shavings, making this job easier too.
Once I had done this the temperature plummeted and it’s been well below freezing at night. I started to worry that a metal floor would be colder than a wooden floor so my next improvement was to put a layer of cardboard over the metal tray then cover with a thick layer of shavings.
This seems to work well as this morning I found poop picking easier and no wet patches on the cardboard yet. When it gets wet I will replace it but am hoping it will only need replacing when I renew the shavings so shouldn’t be a problem. It makes a change for the improvements to be easy and to cost very little.
The other change happening at the moment is that Dotty is finally growing up.
This photo shows the beginning of Dotty’s comb and wattles, where there was no sign a few weeks ago. I have also noticed recently that Dotty doesn’t seem to stick with the other girls so much at the moment, she is often a bit apart from them. There is no pecking or bullying, she just seems to like doing her own thing and seems just as happy. I think it’s because the other three girls are all mature egg laying ladies now and she has got left a bit behind. It will be interesting to see if she changes again when she starts to lay.