Chickens in the Cold

1027141238aPoor little cold chicken feet!  At 7:00 am it is 20 degrees outside. Yesterday was warmer, and when I went to refill the food and water I found their water feeder frozen solid.  Oops.  We were going out for the day so I quickly hooked up the electric water feeder in their coop and they crowded around it.  In my haste, I had to swap plugs with the timer on the coop light, so they got a nice lie-in today.

This is Isa, one of my favorites.  She seems to like me and comes to chat now and then.  Isa is one of the prolific egg-layers, being an “Isa Brown”, but I’m not sure which eggs are hers.  All the hens are back to laying now after their disruption during my vacation.  I’m now taking two dozen eggs to church with me on Sundays to give away.  People are delighted by the pretty shades of brown and blue and they drop contributions into a little chicken bank.

I have been really lax about some winter preparation chores and I am worried I may have gone too late for a couple of things.  For one, we did not yet put entrance reducers on the bee hives.  These are little sticks of wood that narrow down the entrance to one little 1/2 inch hole so that only bees can get in.  It keeps out the mice who are looking for a warm winter nesting area.  I read this week that I should have done it a month ago, and now I’ll have to wait for one last warm day to open the hive boxes and make sure there are no mice in them before I close them down.  A mouse trapped in the hive will try to gnaw his way out and likely will die of bee stings and rot away under the bees.  Yuck.  They also leave mouse droppings and pee that the bees are not happy to live amongst.  Who could blame them?

I know there is one hose still hooked up to an outdoor faucet (turned on!) and I did not put away the hoses either.  At least I did attend to my garden and clean out the vegetation and sunflower stalks.  I get a little credit.  It seems so sad that we are already into the cold weather.  I can only hope we’ll get a little stretch of Indian Summer before the snow flies in earnest.  we had a brief howling fury of blowing snow and sleet on Friday that left a white dusting on the grass.  The leaves very abruptly fell off the Catalpa tree and now it is bare.  I guess I need to start refilling the birdfeeders and take in the frozen hummingbird feeder.  I am so behind!

About bluestempond

Hobby farmer living at Bluestem Pond in Michigan.
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2 Responses to Chickens in the Cold

  1. lifeunderacarolinamoon says:

    We know it’s coming but somehow winter seems to sneak up on us! We too have things we need to get done before winter arrives in earnest. I am in the South so it’s not so bad yet — although we woke up to 28 degrees yesterday! Our days this week will be in the low 70’s though until the weekend where they say 50’s. Still weather I can live with. I need to get out to my storage building and find my winter clothes! I left a few things in a back closet for cool days but I am longing for my sweaters and wool pants and such! I have a cat who lives outside during the summer and usually comes in for winter. He is old — about 15 or 16+ years now. He seems to hurt in the cold and I can’t stand seeing him creeping around like he’s in pain. Gotta make him a cozy place somewhere in the house out of reach of our 3 dogs and my 4 year old grandson. Hate dealing with that cat box until Spring but — you do what you gotta do if you love your animals.
    At some point I shall pick your brain about raising chickens. I got it in my head I want to do that…

  2. bluestempond says:

    Well, I’m new to chickens so we’ll see what trudging out in the snow to care for them will be like. If you love animals, you’ll do whatever is necessary and love them for it, right?

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