Winter is coming around the corner and it is time for all good ranch hands to cast their thoughts to the livestock’s health during the coming blizzard. Whether wrangling thousands or just a few (like 5), every good wrangler plans for animalian comfort. I’ve been told many times by experts that “chickens are hardy birds; you don’t have to worry about them in the winter”, but I still want to maximize their comfort in order to eat happy eggs. Happy hens lay happy eggs. Chilly hens lay unhappy eggs, and wet hens lay mad eggs. (Tell me you’ve heard of the phrase, “mad as a wet hen”).
We now have electricity out at the coop as well as in the tool shed. I only ran a GCFI extension cord to those places, rather than lay wiring underground in UL-approved-whatever, but we have a light out at the coop now, with 2 more outlets to power an anti-ice device (still to be purchased) as well as their heat lamp from chick days. If we have a run of zero to 10 above temp days like last winter, I’ll feel more comfortable with some heat out there for them.
I also installed a semi-permanent light in the shed. When these days get shorter, I end up feeding and watering the animals either before sunup or after sunset. It’s nice to know that when I reach into the feed bags that there aren’t any mice or crickets in there. One time a mouse was in the dog food. That was enough. I check every time now because while mice can co-exist with me, they are NOT welcome to share the shed or it’s food with me or my people. Just no.
The hens seem really content these days. They are laying faithfully and eating well. They still only use the 1st 2 south boxes of the five laying boxes, but that’s ok. I am the only one who seems to be bothered by the asymmetry of that.
We had a hailstorm about a month ago. New roof on the house is already on and is already (mostly) paid for. Insurance companies hand out SOME money pretty quickly, but are a little slower on the balance. We are grateful that the house was done so quickly and the weather has been dry for all our neighbors to get their roofs done as well. I asked the shingling crew for some extra shingles, if they had any when they were done. They left me two opened bundles. I used the two bundles to put a real roof on the coop. It works famously, and the fresh hay I put in there after roofing is still dry, fresh, and fragrant for the girls.
Enjoy the fall weather while you can; it’ll be too cold for “chimenea time” before you know it.