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I had to crack the ice on the chickens drinkers a few times last week but yesterday, overnight, they froze completely solid. That, more than the inch or so of snow on the ground, drove home to me the fact it’s winter now.

Since the temperatures started dropping last week, I’ve reinstated my first thing runs down to see them in the mornings – since we fitted the automatic door, we hadn’t needed to prioritise them in the morning chores list but now I’m back to it. I go down to the run with a kettle full of boiling water now – to melt the ice and to warm up the over all temperature of the water in the drinkers.

After The Compost Lady recommended it, they’ve had a warm layers pellets porridge too. Also, like The Compost Lady, I’m liberally sprinkling corn around at lunchtime as a treat since they can’t scratch in the dirt as normal.

They thanked me for these comforts with a 100% laying rate over the weekend. The new ones still haven’t started laying but the four existing ones produced an egg each, each day – pretty good for snowy November!

In related news, I had to scrap lumps of frozen poo off the coop floor yesterday. Which was fun. I’m on the look out for ways to insulate it. I’m thinking maybe a fake floor (with insulation underneath and an easy-clean top) and a layer of insulation on the roof too. Just got to keep an eye out for materials…

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4 Comments on The chickens in winter

  1. Mary H says:

    Years ago when I kept laying hens, I would give them laying mash on winter mornings mixed with hot water and a healty dose of crushed red pepper, too. They seemed to love it!

    • louisa says:

      Crushed red pepper as in chillis rather than capsicums? Hardcore chickens!

      I’ve heard about giving them garlic & cider vinegar but chilli too – I’d be hoping for spicy pickled eggs straight from the chicken! ;)

      • Mary H says:

        Yeah, chili peppers! I forget who recommended it, but it sure seemed to keep the hens happy and laying. I’ve never heard about the garlic & cider but I bet that’s a good winter tonic for them!

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