I want to raise chickens in northern Wisconsin!

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I am moving to the country, northern Wisconsin, and want to raise chickens for eggs mainly, but also for meat. I am a suburban girl moving up there, and need all the help I can get!

-- Kim Dorsey (Mommoosie@aol.com), August 15, 2000


I live in central Wisconsin. As far as eggs go, you'll have to collect them a couple times thru the day during the winter or they'll freeze on you. We have a coop with a window facing the south so the sun can shine in for warmth and the north side is protected by the barn. We have roosts 3',4'and 5' off the ground so they can choose how high they want to go. They'll get in the barn and end up pooping all over the hay if we didn't boot them out every time we saw them. As far as meat birds go, we always got them around May or later and butchered about 10-12 wks. later. Some of my friends do two batches of meat birds. (50 each time) It's really not much different than anywhere else - just have to pay attention to the seasons.

-- Pat (pmikul@pcpros.net), August 15, 2000.

We are in N.N.Y on the Canandain border we raise chickens and lots of other livestock .You need a draft free building .We put hard plastic on half the roof to let extra light in .You can also put bales of hay on the walls to insulate it some.

-- Patty (fodfarms@slic.com), August 15, 2000.

We live in No. WI. about 20 miles south of the big lake. Can get to 35 below zero plus nasty wind chill. We like heavy breeds with small combs and feathered feet. The combs don't freeze like the big-combed birds. For a waterer I have successfully used an electric dog dish made for outdoor dogs. If you provide lots of fluffy hay for bedding they seem to enjoy that and they do like to get up high off the floor. Most anywhere up here the major problem is predators- we have them all. Someday we'll have good pens and fences. We've raised chickens for years and keep them through the winter. If you have any questions, just ask.

-- Peg (NW WI) (wildwoodfarms@hushmail.com), August 15, 2000.

Another cold weather tip: build your roosts from 2x4s with the flat side up. This allows the bird to rest with flat toes which can be easily covered by feathers rather than toes wrapped around a circular pole where the feathers cannot reach.

-- Mike O (olsonmr@yahoo.com), August 16, 2000.

Another suggestion is to find a breed like Chantecleer, which is Canadian and seems to tolerate cold better. I have also found my Arucanas seem to lay better thru the winter too.

-- Dianne (yankeeterrier@hotmail.com), August 18, 2000.

Hi, Kim, and welcome to the northwoods! Peg is closer to Gitchigumee than we are, and is therefore a little warmer. But when it gets to 30 or 40 below who notices a few degrees? The main thing is to prevents drafts. But. Im using the chicken house Steve wrote up in Counntryside July-August 1998. But I covered the pen part with plastic last year, for added protection. And guess what? Our Barred Rocks spent the entire winter OUTSIDE the insulated wooden house, sleeping on the perches in the pen enclosed on the north and west with plastic. True, it did not get to 40 below last year (global warming, donchaknow), but it still amazed me that they didnt sleep inside even during the worst blizzards. And the 8 hens produced 6-8 eggs a day. Chickens are hardy creatures. But keep them dry and out of the wind. Jd

-- Jd (belanger@tds.net), August 20, 2000.

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