Preparing the Chickens for Hibernation

Preparing the Chickens for Hibernation

It’s only a matter of time until the ground is frozen over, all the green is gone and covered by a blanket of white.  I enjoy winter.  I really do.  I just wish it wasn’t 3 months long.

I could be happy with just Spring, Summer and Fall…you?

Right now, it’s beautiful outside and it’s not even freezing at night (yay!) but the cold weather is coming, whether I want it to or not  The bees were prepped last weekend, so it is becoming the chickens turn.  Throughout the winter our chickens need to be as comfy as possible, so we build a wind break out of straw bales and insulate their coop with lots of additional straw.

Straw bales come apart in these cool sections called “flakes” which are perfect to simply throw in the coop and let the chickens scratch apart!

This will be the Ladies first winter in their Chicken Mansion and since it is much bigger than their last coop, I’m a little concerned about how they will stay warm in there (you know, smaller space = less space to warm up with their little chicken bodies), but Ameracaunas are very cold hardy, so it really shouldn’t be an issue.

This is a view from inside the coop with a partial wind break…
Here is the same view with the full wind break.
It doesn’t look like much, but it makes a huge difference!

Since it’s still so warm out, all that’s been done so far is the building of the wind break.  While I was at that, I threw down some new straw in their run.  The poor ladies are molting, so I thought I’d cheer them up with some new flooring/bedding and a bunch of scratch  🙂

WARNING:  Chickens are…well…chicken.  Take care when throwing down your “flakes”!  If you scare a chicken in the process, she just might take flight and wind up on your head, flapping wildly.  True story.  It’s terrifying, and not just for the chicken.

Once it cools down a bit more, we’ll insulate the inside of their coop with some more straw, but for now the ladies are happy.

I have been asked if we use a lamp in their coop to keep them producing eggs throughout the winter.  The answer to this question is no.  We decided when we first got the Ladies that we would let them run their natural cycles.

Yes, their egg production goes down, but we simply adjust our egg consumption.  It really wasn’t a big deal last winter and with two more birds added to the flock this spring, we just might be better off in the egg department this winter.  We do, however, have a heat lamp that we purchased to keep the baby chicks warm in the brooder each spring, and we will use this if the temperatures go below zero like they did last winter.  I’m hoping that doesn’t happen, though 🙂

What do you do to prepare your chickens for the winter months?

Written by Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm

10 Comments

  1. Bee Girl

    We have Ameracaunas 🙂 It’s one of the two Newbies (about 10 months old) that lays the speckled eggs, but we haven’t figured out which one yet. We’ve been very lucky that all our girls lay beautiful (and diverse) eggs!

  2. Bee Girl

    Laura – I thought so too, but we get blue, green, brown and (now) speckled eggs! They’re just gorgeous! Our original 5 chickens (they’re a little over a year and half old now) didn’t molt their first year, but are going through their first molt now. Poor Ladies, they look so miserable…and their egg production is way down! The 2 Newbies (they’re about 9 months old) aren’t molting though.

  3. Laura H

    Interesting! I thought Americaunas only laid blue/green eggs. The speckled ones are a nice switch up. My girls are almost 9 months old , too, and one (a domanique) has just started her first molt. :/

  4. laura h

    Ooh! I didn’t know or forgot you are in NM. On of my favorite places! What kind of hen lays the speckled egg? I just covred the run up with tarps for our most recent snow/cold snap, but am thinking of setting up a red heat lamp whe it goes blow zero. I am just north of you in CO. 🙂

  5. Bee Girl

    Allison – It gets pretty cold! We’re in the “high desert” at 7000 feet so we see some snow and lots of freezing temps…but we do have 4 full seasons, which is quite a blessing 🙂

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