Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Coop Time

The other day I turned my attention to the chickens. With cooler weather on the horizon, they needed a little TLC. Poor things live in a shack, but they seem to fair awfully well. Initially, I thought they ought to have some sort of heat, but DH was raised in Nebraska and they always had chickens and no one had heat in their coops. So my chickens will just have to get tough. We have some pretty cold winters but they seem to weather the weather just fine. :)

 I spent a lot of time cleaning out their humble abode and hauling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of hay from the floor of the barn.


 I hauled out all the old bedding from their nesting boxes and lined them with fresh hay. The floor of the coop now has a nice thick blanket of hay insulation and I attempted to seal some of the gaps in the wood sides and roof with spray insulation. I had lots of helpful suggestions from my feathered crew:

                                          

My girls are dependable egg layers. Most of the time I have eggs coming out of my ears. I am thinking of giving pound cakes for Christmas gifts because that uses a lot of eggs.

I let them free range although there has been a noticeable decline in the availability of crawly critters for their dining pleasure lately.

                             

When they hear the door of the house, they come running for all they're worth from wherever they may be in hopes of getting a treat. Today I debated letting them out of the chicken yard. I was out at the barn early this morning helping DH load horses and the coyotes were just a little too close for comfort. By close, I mean that I could throw a rock and hit them and they have left their calling card on the cement slab where we keep the smoker and grill just outside the yard fence. I shut the girls up in the evening, because those coyotes are crafty and I sure would hate to have one of my chickens end  up as coyote dinner.

Silly girls are curious and have to inspect every new addition to their turf.


This morning was a might chilly:



Those poor boys are horseback. Tomorrow will be even colder. I'm thinking they will welcome a big ol' pot of Green Chile Stew when they get in for dinner. The chickens...well, they'll just have to make due with leftovers from breakfast when I trot out there in a minute to break the ice in their water.

14 comments:

sherry said...

i was taught by my grandfather to use straw on the floor of my chicken house rather then hay…the straw being hollow does not pack down get wet and mold like hay…nice healthy chickens you have

Nancy said...

Your "girls" are beauties. I'd keep them tucked in a night, too. Is the coyote showing himself during the day? He/she just might be brazen enough to grab one of the hens then, too.

Katey said...

My DH just put a heat lamp in my coop..Here in northern Colorado,the high temp for today is 7! wind chills are below 0 and it's snowing. No heat for the ducks,but they don't seem to care!
ShellyinCO

Ranch Wife said...

Truth be told, I would probably cave and put a heat lamp in the coop, but my chicken coop is a long way from any electricity.

Karin Vail said...

that's the only thing about having critters in the winter - breaking ice, what a pain. I raised rabbits for many many years (almost 20), and I always dreaded winter. I got pneumonia 2 years ago, and sold off all the rabbits and haven't got any back since. I miss them terribly, but sure don't miss dealing with frozen water!

Siouxzq64@gmail.com said...

This is my first year in a challenging climate and having chickens. I think their coop is sealed up pretty well. We have been having coyote problems too!

Judy said...

We are not that cold yet but will be soon. Ours are not laying right now. Maybe it's the move or their molting. Yours are very pretty. I don't use heat either, they are getting their winter feathers. Thank you for the gift info. Having grandchildren they seem to like toys or money best. Your day is coming, and you will be a fantastic grandmother! Have a great rest of the week. jlblvn@gmail.com

Lavern Bevers said...

Havent had chickens since I was a little kid.I did recently take care of a neighbors 9 hens and 1 rooster and water his tomato plants for a week.Loved those hens. I would cave and heat a coop also Im such a softie! My dogs have igloo dog houses on the porch but since the rat terriers are so cold natured Im seriously thinking about a dog house heater.Thenthat leads to trying to figure out how to rig up heat lamps in both barns for the cats without burnin the barn down....

Shelljo said...

Your girls will do just fine in the cold as long as they have water :) I give mine black oil sunflower seeds in the winter. It gives them some extra fat in their diet, which I think they need to keep warm!

Denise :) said...

Fresh eggs are always so pretty -- so much prettier than what comes in a carton! The girls look happy enough! Tough cold to be out in (horses or no). Green Chili Stew sounds yummy! We've been hearing the coyotes singing a lot, recently. So far, I've not seen any. Which suits me fine! :)

StitchinByTheLake said...

I don't have chickens, but my sister and daughter do. When I look out on these cold mornings I'm glad I don't have to go out and take care of them. :) blessings, marlene

Dar said...

Your chickens are beautiful. It looks like they laid some eggs in a watering trough filled with hay? I would love some chickens, but I'm like a few others. I would hate to have to tend them in the snow and freezing weather. So it's best I don't have them. I'm too old now anyway. Pound cakes for Christmas presents sounds wonderful. Your friends will love you forever!

toniaconner said...

We only have 4 hens left right now, we only had six chicks to start but lost one to a hawk and one to a dog. But will get some more chicks this coming spring. Don't really want a rooster at this time, I'm retiring this Christmas and will have more time to spend learning and taking care or them. I think I can learn a lot from you and your friends.
Blessings
Tonia

Sarah said...

We put shell grit in our chook house (chicken coop in correct language!). We have easy access to it with lots of beaches around here. No problem with it being too cold for our chickens. We hope it doesn't get too hot for them in a tin shed in summer.

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