October is the time of year for finishing what didn’t get done this summer and planning for what will be happening this winter. One big project that needs finishing up is our new coop and run. We started it last fall and we still need to put the last finishing touches on it.
My husband, Dennis, is the handy man in our family. He has been busy this month finishing ramps and doors for the four pop door openings in the new pens. We painted today (purple) and hoped that the white silkies stayed white and did not turn into purple Paints! We also finished up the fencing in the run and closed up any holes that are left.
Since October is the month for planning, we measured all of the runs for the plastic sheeting we wrap around. In past years, we used clear plastic that came on a roll. We measured, cut and zip tied it but by spring it looked pretty beat up.
This year we are going to order clear tarps that have grommet holes. They will cost more than the roll of plastic , but we will be able to use them for possibly three years. Again, we will use zip ties and bungee cords to hang them. They keep snow out of the run and create a kind of greenhouse effect inside it. The plastic cuts the wind and lets the silkies come out of the coop when it is well below freezing.
While ordering the tarp, I decided to also stock up on heat lamp bulbs. I ordered six 125 watt bulbs to be used in the chicks room. Better to have some on hand than to have a crisis occur and be out of them.
Another chore to plan for is water transporting. By the end of October the hoses are put away and I need to start carrying water out to the coops. In previous years, I carried the water in two, 5 gallon buckets. Not my favorite chore. This year I will need twice as much water since we added another coop. I found a few 5 gallon buckets with lids which will work nicely. I plan on using the sled to bring the water down to the coops. Always trying to improve the way we do things around here.
One last chore is to go through all of the birds individually. We check to see whether it can see. If not , we trim the feathers around the eyes and underneath the eye. We trim the beak and trim away any long toenails. We check for mites and give each silkie a clean bill of health.
I did a dry run tonight with the water buckets and the sled. Everything went smoothly. The paint is still a little sticky, but I take comfort in knowing that we will be prepared for winter. The birds will be snug in their coops. All it takes is a little October pre-planning.