Over the weekend, we accomplished a pile of chicken chores. I finished our Ussery Shelter, adding a front door, wire reinforcement and a bunch of latches and accessories to make it more functional and, I dare-say, attractive. I’m going to wait on that post because there are a few more details I’d like to add that I’m hoping to acquire within the next few days (after a much needed trip south to civilization).
We also relocated our compost pile from the side of the chicken coop to the back field, where the winter’s droppings can compost down to something we can use in the garden this fall. I was astounded by just how much decomposition had taken place in the chicken coop over the winter! As soon as we finished cleaning out the coop, we left the floors to dry overnight because this afternoon, I’ll be doing a full whitewash of all surfaces.
Interested in whitewash? It’s a process farmers have used for years to coat the inside of structures where animals are kept or, more often, milked. It has mild antibacterial and I’ve noticed that it brightens up our otherwise dark chicken coop, particularly in the winter.
To prepare the coop for whitewashing, we cleared everything out of it, scraped and swept the floors, nest boxes and perches.
To make whitewash, you mix the following in a bucket:
12 c. Hydrated Lime
1 lb. of Table Salt (I used un-iodized)
1 or 2 Gallons of Warm Water (roughly – just mix until it forms a thick paint-like consistency)
I always work with a mask and heavy gloves when I’m dealing with hydrated lime, as it is caustic in its powdered form. When mixing, work with a long piece of scrap wood to avoid any splatter.
Using a brush, apply a thick coat of whitewash, then let dry. One thing I didn’t realize when we did this last year was just how long it can take to set. And old farming book suggests as many as two or three days to harden, so please give yourself plenty of time before you have to return your birds to their home! Note that it will spread with a greyish tint, but once it dries it turns a brilliant white.