Winter chickens

We got snow yesterday, and although it isn’t the first time this season the white stuff was flying around, it is the first time it stuck stubbornly in place and stayed there. Today was sunny, but it wasn’t warm enough to melt the stuff either, so we still have snow on the ground. We’ll get more tomorrow, too, if the weather folks are right.

So, it’s truly time to hunker down and start piling on the sweaters, wool socks, down comforters and coats, and other winter gear. It seems that this cold and snow has also brought about the final step in integrating my little flock of chickens, too.

Last night when I went out to shut up the coops and batten things down for the evening I was shocked to find all 6 chickens inside one Eglu. Yep, that’s right, they were all snuggled in together and seemed quite content with the arrangement. Not only that, but the hens laid their eggs today in the nestbox of the new Eglu, the one in which they piled together last night.

Tonight the trend didn’t continue and the hens were back in their “old” Eglu coop by themselves. Maybe they found it a bit too tight inside after all.

Note that I only said I have 6 chickens at this time. Anyone not following closely may be excused for not remembering that I had 3 hens up until this summer when I added 4 chicks. 4+3=7, right? Well, 2 of those 4 new chicks turned out to be cockerals (immature roosters). Keeping 2 roosters when I don’t even need one seemed a bit foolhardy, so I re-homed one of them. He also happened to be the loudest, yet most beautiful one, too. So, he is happily taking care of a small flock of Easter Egger ladies, and I have a lone rooster that I’m allowing to hang around for now. If he gets to be a problem in any way, though, he will have to go.

All of the chickens were quite put off by the snow yesterday. For the newest ones, this was their first real snowfall. For the older hens, this was their second winter, but they seemed reluctant to acknowledge this strange cold substance again. I had to give them all some treats to get them out into the larger run.

The hens are molting and their egg production has dropped. There are days when I only get one egg now, but I’m not complaining. The poor things look a mess. Maisy is nearly naked on her underside, and all of them just look generally raggedy. I’m giving them extra protein in the form of more meat scraps, some cat food, and a higher protein feed. They like a warm mash in the mornings made with the higher protein crumbles and some cat food.

If I truly was apt to spoil my birds, I’d give them warm mash in the morning and then a bit of cracked corn in the late afternoon before they head in to roost. Just because I did that today doesn’t mean I’ll make it a habit. Right? Right….

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One thought on “Winter chickens

  1. We have 6 hens (- 1 cockeral now). We are further north in Minnesota. This is our chickens first winter. It is cool to read posts of other chicken owners in the city. Keep blogging.

    Grace and Peace.

    Like

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