Friendly Chicken Coop Decoration – Backyard Poultry

reading time: 5 Session minutes

Decorating and running the halls of your coop with some safe, chicken-friendly decorations is a great way to get your flock — and your family — into the holiday spirit.

When the holidays roll around, we love decorating our homes in festive elegance, but don’t forget your chicken coop! Decorating and running the halls of your coop with some safe, chicken-friendly decorations is a great way to get your flock — and your family — into the holiday spirit.

hang stockings

No holiday decoration is complete without a wreath on the barn door, but I go one step further and make stockings for each chick. When I was little, my mom made our Christmas stockings, so I took her innovative and inexpensive idea and created my own stocking collection.

Velvet or felt mini socks are available in 3, 6, or 12-packs at most craft stores. Write the name of the chicken using glue. Sprinkle over the glue with some silver or gold glitter and let it dry. The first time I made custom stockings, I had eight chickens. To make hanging easier, I nailed the stockings to a piece of barn wood, then nailed the board to the hanger. I keep ornaments stored on the outside of the runway so they don’t click on the shine and for holiday photo shoots for the family. Every day during the Christmas season, I visit the barn to collect eggs and smile when I see their stockings.

Nest Box curtains

Hanging these girls’ holiday nest box curtains is not only a fun way to decorate a barn, but the curtains can also serve many important purposes.

In the past, I had problems eating eggs. Curtains hung over the nest boxes will help hide the fresh eggs from the curious flock. Curtains can also help maintain privacy when laying hens. I’ve had a few nosy chickens who won’t leave others alone when they try to lie. Sometimes fights would break out, and I’d have to get rid of the curious chickens. A nest box curtain helps protect laying hen from prying eyes, providing a little privacy in a crowded coop and reducing nest box fights.

Chickens also have an innate need to lie down in a dark, quiet place. This instinctive sense is likely to protect their offspring from natural predators. The curtains help keep the light out, making the chickens feel more secure and protected.

When hanging curtains over nest boxes, make sure that there are no long strings hanging down that the chickens could peck at or swallow, as eating long string could cause the crop to suffer. Avoid shiny materials, as shiny, shiny things attract your attention. Use inexpensive materials and toss them away at the end of the season, or better yet, hang holiday mugs over nest boxes for a “no-sew” option.

Christmas watering chicken fig

I love when Christmas barn decorations have a useful purpose, too. When I got my four Polish chickens, I didn’t need a large 3 or 5 gallon water bowl, so I used smaller chicken coops. Small pourers help prevent the soft tops of the polish from getting wet and hardening. However, young chicks’ waterers freeze quickly in the cold winters of the Midwest. The solution was right in front of me on the holiday aisle at Walmart. I bought a metal tin for the holidays, cut a hole in the side, and attached the tin to a 40 watt light bulb. I place the watering can on the decorative plate, and the bulb radiates enough heat to keep the water from freezing. A festive tin brightens up boring watering. I love the Christmas tray so much, I will change it up for other annual holidays.

Christmas lights

Many chicken owners hang holiday lights in the runs and around the coop. My channel door has a large window so any outside light will shine on the perches. Since I choose not to light my coop in the winter to encourage year-round egg laying, I don’t want artificial lights shining through in my coop.

If you don’t have windows to worry about or you light your barn to encourage egg-laying anyway, Christmas lights are a fun and decorative addition to your holiday decor. If you add a light, it is essential to take precautions to keep your flock safe and avoid fire hazards. Keep decorative lighting on the outside of the run and do not hang on the barn. Anchor the lighting with poultry wire netting or a piece of scrap cloth around your perch, not against any wood siding.

Better yet, invest in a series of outdoor LED lights. While they may be more expensive than incandescent bulbs, LED lights are cool to the touch and safe for children and animals. They last longer than incandescent bulbs, use less energy, and the bulbs shine much brighter. Even if left for hours, the bulbs stay cool. Keep in mind package instructions stating the maximum number of strings that can be connected together safely, and never string lighting with different lengths or different sizes of bulbs, which can overload the electrical circuit and result in a fire. If you don’t have an electrical source, battery or solar powered lights are an option.

Recycle cotton masks for a Christmas treat swing

At the beginning of the pandemic, I started making a mask. I now have a bag of masks that I don’t use – some of them have pretty holiday prints on them. After brainstorming how I might reuse my adorable cotton masks, I hit the hammock.

Open the mask’s hammock to create a feeding trough, then simply hang the elastic ear loops from the two hooks. I actually made a stand for the swings with a mask to make them more portable. Fill with scratch, a few beaten eggs, or a few chopped garlic, kale, or herbs like thyme or marjoram. While I don’t make use of my old masks, it’s fun to watch the girls reuse my hard work.

Since I started decorating my canal, my friends and family have never missed an opportunity to take pictures with my flock. And I think my chickens love living in squishy digs and posing for Christmas cards.

Originally published in the December 2022 / January 2023 issue of Backyard Poultry and has been regularly checked for accuracy.

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