Well, I used cereal box cardboard and newspaper to cover up all the major openings to my chicken coop, and that seems to keep the majority of the heat from the electric heater inside to at least keep the water dish from freezing.
I really need to get a portable chicken coop built that fits right on top of my raised bed frames. What this will allow me to do is to house my chicks in a much more wind and cold proof envelope, and the chickens will churn up and mix in their poop from the roost with the bedding material that is below in the raised bed frame.
I will have a trap door on all four sides of the coop so I can connect a chicken wire cage to any of the four sides of the coop to allow the chickens to also work a raised bed next to them that I have pulled out of production or is a brand new bed that needs to be weeded.
For the bedding material I will use a mixture of leaves, shredded newspaper and brown cardboard, as well as small sticks and branches on the very bottom.
I had this exact setup at my previous place, and it worked quite well. The resulting mix of chicken poop, paper, cardboard and some kitchen scraps all churned together by the chickens was a nice, fluffy, humus with a trace of topsoil and rough bits of wood chips. It had a nice earthy smell and was super rich and friable, perfect to side dress existing plants or plant heavy feeder plants right into it.
So, this will be my first project for the spring.
- Chicken Manure in the Garden: Mother Earth News excerpts Gene Logsdon’s Holy Shit (chelseagreen.com)
- Chickens In The Backyard (tinychoices.com)