Chickens in the greenhouse in the winter
A greenhouse makes a wonderful winter home for chickens. Also during the growing season your plants will flourish and produce an abundant harvest. Here are some tips we have learned that have been beneficial for our hens and for us.
- Provide some shade inside the greenhouse. Too much sun all day long seems to aggravate the chickens. Shade cloth or another structure inside the greenhouse will work.
- Use organic matter for bedding to create soil to keep the chickens busy scratching and digging all winter.
- Construct sides for bedding as it grows and shifts, similar to a raised garden bed.
- Till the greenhouse floor when necessary. A BCS tractor tiller fits through our 36"man door.
- Install plastic fence around the perimeter to keep chickens from flying up and cutting the greenhouse plastic. Keep this above the wooden sides. This helps to keep the bedding and greenhouse soil out of the fencing.
- Make sure to leave an opening for the hens to get outside and stretch their legs, weather permitting. A roll up end works well for this purpose.
- Design the greenhouse with roll up sides. It can get too warm very quickly when the sun is shining.
- Design the greenhouse to have an opening large enough for equipment to pull into the greenhouse.
- Collect nighttime manure under the roosting bars so you can remove the concentrated pile from the greenhouse. We use plastic bins covered with greenhouse benching. so the chickens will not have access to the manure.
- If you live in a snowy climate, be prepared to rake the snow off the top of your greenhouse.
- Use Best Nest Boxes because they are so versatile and can easily change from a nice weather set up to a wintertime set up. Keep your eggs from freezing by placing the nest box on top of hay bales.
Advantages a greenhouse has over a traditional coop or barn
- More daylight and longer daylight hours
- No bedding cleanup