We’ve finally got snow! Here in Southern Oregon it’s been quite a dry winter with really no snow to speak of and we sure do want it! It started Sunday night, snowed all day yesterday and now snowing again. I’m lovin’ it!
What I find quite amusing is that our chickens and even Drake our duck don’t seem to care for the snow (?) Really surprises me since the chickens always like being out in cold, wind, rain and yes even a little bit of snow, but this time around no way! Yesterday when I opened their run only Madison was brave enough to just come out, three others….including our “big brave rooster” Ricky stood there…at least three were standing on the ledge to their run, one stuck a foot out and backed away, all three just stood there looking at me and saying “um yeah no, we’re not going out”. Hmmm. Ok. Later in the day it stopped for a bit and they ventured out….only to scurry under our RV where its very dry and they make little dust bathing bowls. That didn’t last long, they all went back in…including Drake! Kinda funny watching him waddle as his body skims the snow. Agh, never a dull moment on this homestead.
However, with this snow has come a cold front and with night temps dipping down to the teens, I decided to add a curtain over the window in their one coop as I noticed some condensation on the inside which is a sign of heat loss from all the heat that builds up inside.
I made these quickly from leftover fabric I’ve used in the coop previously, (well cause chickens like coordinated décor 🙂 ) turned down the top about 1-1/2″ and sewed for a rod pocket. I’m a huge fan of using what you have on hand and I had an old tension rod and since I was out of any type of bracket, I did find 2 decorative hooks and used them as brackets to hold the rod. Cut the fabric up the middle after sewing the rod pocket so this way they can be opened, or well if the chickens decide they want more of a view 🙂 If you don’t have a curtain rod, a dowel will do or even just stapling or nailing the fabric to the wall.
In winter, I keep their fermented feed in the laundry room so it’s room temperature and decided to add a little lavender to it for some fresh greens. Warm oatmeal on cold mornings is a favorite as well…having said that, when they’ve gone into their run for the evenings a HUGE FAVORITE of theirs is cracked corn. Munching on this helps produce body heat for them overnight. And let me tell you, they see me pick up that dish and follow me into the well house…I can barely walk and get the dish set down inside the run with them going crazy for it. I call this “chicken crack”!
As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, I am not a proponent of heating coops in the winter, however, I do believe in making things more comfy for them in little ways. Adding more dry straw on the floor, sealing up drafts, keeping ventilation above the birds, adding draft drapes and curtains, stacking straw bales against coops or adding insulation (be sure they cannot peck at any of it). Any and all of these concepts are a huge help. Our coops seem to maintain comfortable temps even in deep cold weather. The coldest I’ve seen them get is 20F. This is the first winter with chickens, and everyone has done great and been producing daily all winter long. As time goes on, I learn more (pass it on to others) and am always making changes and improvements to their coops and runs.