January 10th, 2011

The Cold-Weather Chicken Dance

debbie_tnWith respect to the recent posts about chickens and cold weather: I’ve also found that my girls (and boy) do fine in 20 degree temps (they’re heavy dual-purpose breeds). It’s the humans that have problems and worry about them.

The first time I had hens, I worried and called my “chicken mentor” (everyone needs someone like this the first time they raise chickens—or any animals, really). I’ll never forget when she very diplomatically asked me, “Why do you think they’re cold?” Well, they were alternately pulling one leg up into their bellies, then the other. OK, maybe they were cold, she conceded. She recommended I put plastic around the coop’s hardware cloth walls and straw down on the hardware cloth floor. That did the trick. The hardest thing about these low temps is making sure they have water that isn’t ice. —Debbie Leung, Olympia, Washington

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