January 25, 2011

Chickens and Cold Weather

It was -27 degrees when I got up on Monday morning. I immediately went to check on the chickens. During the spring/summer/fall they live outside in a small coop with a run and free range during the day. In the winter I move them into our garage/barn where they can escape drafts, harsh weather, and winter starved predators; and are more easily accessible.

They sleep in an extra large dog house which has an attached run. During the day, I give them the run of the barn.
Whenever I visit them, I can hear them clucking softly and calling to me before I even open the door from the breezeway.

On Monday morning I didn't hear a sound.

I had purchased a heat lamp for them but had read chickens were actually very hardy and could handle very cold temperatures, in the right conditions, as long as they were acclimated to the cold.

I use the deep litter method to insulate the ground (it is a dirt floor barn), Their house is insulated, and I always put them to bed with a crop full of grain. They have a wooden roost from a sapling tree and we attached a board to it so their bodies could better warm their feet. Still, I was really concerned when I heard it would be more than twenty below.

Well, the girls were alright but they did not talk to me all day.

This morning it was 2 degrees when I got up and the temps were going to come up out of the single digits. As soon as the girls heard me coming to them they started their soft clucking.

I think that has to be one of the sweetest sounds in the world!


small farm girl said...

I agree! My chickens always know when I'm coming to feed them. It's like they are all saying Good Morning!

The Apple Pie Gal said...

You had me scared for a moment when they didn't talk to you!! Glad to hear they are 'over it'.


Ruta said...

I was scared too! I just never realized how much I love hearing their welcome sounds every day. ...Didn't realize how much I enjoyed it until it was gone!