On Monday, we welcomed back six of the hens that we raised last fall. In order to acclimate them to the new environment, we need to keep them in the coop for seven days so they recognize that as their home. This will help ensure that they return to the coop at dusk before the automatic door closes, keeping them safe from predators. So far the students have fed them and changed their water. We also gave them greens from the garden, including comfrey and romanesco leaves.
As for the bedding, we are experimenting with the deep litter method for the winter. This involves laying down a thick layer of pine shavings and covering with straw. Each day, we turn the bedding and over time we will continue to add straw. The bedding combined with the chicken manure will decompose over the winter, providing us with compost for the garden in the spring.