Chickens...dear, sweet chickens... : LUSENET : Country Families : One Thread

I thought I'd take advantage of the nice, warm, rainy weather we're having, and muck out the chicken coop. Oh, what joy!!! The chickens congregated here and there in the drizzle while I filled the wheelbarrow time and again with 3 months worth of manure. With the water pan buried under a snowdrift, they gathered at a puddle of snow melt to quench their thirst.

Mucking out in the rain sort of reminded me of taking shelter in livestock sheds on rainy fair days. Sarah was working with me. Taking a look around at wet chickens she used to be afraid of, she said, "I don't think I ever want to live in the city!"

I took a short break to put out some feed so I could count the chickens and assess any injuries. One hen was limping, favouring her left leg. My favourite rooster was also showing signs of foot trouble. There are also some frostbitten combs turning gray. AND a missing hen!

I hadn't been out to count in a while, but Josiah says he saw raccoon tracks mingled with brown feathers in a nearby field some days ago. Sarah, who takes care of the chickens, said she thought we only had 11. There should be 12. So she took a careful look around, and said, "I don't see Henny!" Henny was nursed back to fine health some months ago after suffering a broken leg. She has disappeared before, so we'll just wait and see.

I put a couple of bales worth of fresh hay down, and none too soon to suit those birds. They are now in the process of cleaning out their wet feathers and pecking at bugs and hayseed. Took stock of the coop. The roof needed help, as it is only a tarp laid across criss-crossing boards. We also needed to extend the tarp so that the rain water drains off the OUTside of the hay bale walls, instead of the INside. Next I dug out the water pan and set it on the sheltered side of the coop, instead of right where the landlord blows the snow off the driveway.

All that work was actually refreshing for me. Anybody who has been following my recent history will understand how good it was for me to be out working instead of cooped up inside feeling nauseated!

Any of you who have brought chickens safely through the winter, please feel free to comment on any of what I have written here. This is our first winter with chickens, and though it has been a mild one, we have had some bitter, cold spells, resulting in frozen (and therefore cracked) eggs. It was suggested that I run a light out, but Tom feels it would be a fire hazard, with a straw bale coop, the tendency for high winds sweeping through, and the need for at least 100 ft of extension cord. Any ideas for working around that?

March is just about a week away. We are really looking forward to warmer days and bluer skies.

-- Cathy N. (, February 21, 2002


Our small flock is doing great!! Only had Rocky suffer from a bit of frost bite on his comb.......but if he wouldn't sleep in the doorway of the coop he wouldn't be in a draft! (He could roost with the girls but seems to prefer protecting the doorway) We built the small elevated coop that was in Country Side several issues ago. I love it don't have to lean over to get eggs, just reach in waist level door! Just make sure it is well anchored. We have lots of wind here so are used to securing items, but this time we failed and chickens, coop and all rolled. No eggs for three days! Anxiouslly awaiting the hens wanting to brood and raise chicks. Denise

-- Denise K. (, February 21, 2002.

you could a 12v light,, with a car battery,, fire hazard would be close to nill, as long as common sense is used.

-- Stan (, February 22, 2002.

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