DIY Foraged Winterberry Holiday Window Boxes for your Chicken Coop

December 13, 2016

window box forage winter decor diy

Sure you can go out and buy all kinds of beautiful (expensive) holiday decorations for your home (and coop!) worthy of a spread in Romantic Homes or House Beautiful magazine, but I prefer to save a little money, head out to the woods and make my own holiday decor.


Even if you don't live out in the country and have any woods at your disposal, it's likely you can find some bushes and berries in your yard that won't mind being pruned back a bit! Or you can even swap with a friend or neighbor. If you have pine cones and she has some nice birch branches, make a trade! 

I decided to decorate the window boxes on our coop and barn. All kinds of things look great in window boxes, but for this year, I decided to go with some evergreen boughs, birch branches, pine cones and winter berries, accented with a big red bow made of burlap.

I found everything I used in my window boxes right on our property, except for the pine cones that I brought with me when we moved from Virginia. I think nice large pine cones look so nice nestled in the boughs. If you don't have pine cones available, you can actually buy them by the bagful here.

I also added a splash of color in the form of pretty red burlap bows. You can buy burlap by the yard and fashion your own bows, or you can buy pre-made bows here.


What you Do
This project couldn't be easier. If you already have dirt in your window boxes, then you can just poke the branches into the dirt to hold them in place. Otherwise, you can use florist foam blocks like this in each window box as a base.

Start with the evergreen boughs and arrange them one by one until the box is full. Next, poke some of the birch branches along the back edge against the window. Add a few sprigs of berries and then tuck some pine cones in among the boughs.

A simple thumbtack will affix the bow to the front of the box....and a bit of snow doesn't hurt! Use your imagination. There are no right or wrong ways to create a festive holiday display.











A Note about Berries - When you're foraging for berries, you need to be careful, especially if you're making decorations that will be used in areas that your chickens have access too. Many red berries are toxic, including holly berries, nandina berries, bittersweet berries and hawthorn berries; however there are lots of safe berries as well including barberries, beautyberries, chokeberries, cranberries, mountain ash berries, mulberries and  juniper berries (which are a pretty blue color!)

I'm lucky because we have two non-poisonous berries on our farm - winter berries and wintergreen berries. I used winter berries for my window boxes because they are larger and more plentiful. They are a favorite of lots of song birds, but since they're low in fat, and not great sources of energy in the cold weather, the birds tend to leave them alone unless other food sources are scarce. 

Materials Sources: Foam BlocksBurlap Bows and Pine Cones

Resources:
Good Berry Bad Berry by Helen Yoest
https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/2571e/

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