This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

spoiled chickens

I think I am going to spoil my chickens. Why not.

They've just been shipped across the country (from Iowa) as young, barely feathered hens, they have nice coop, but we're having a bitter November cold snap here in New England. Its 25*F and windy as can be. I know experienced chicken keepers tell me they don't need extra heat, but it seems a bit of spoiling may be OK for their transition. I'm running an incandecsant bulb (40 watt) for the chickens so they have about 15 hours of light (about 6 am to 9 pm) to encourage winter egg laying. This adds some heat. But I'd like to add a bit more heat to the coop. I've tried putting a tarp over the coop to break this wind and contain warmth, but the humidity went WAY up, so NO tarp. (I have a nice little remote thermometer and humidity meter that I like for monitoring the girls' situation.) They seem to like the red heat lamp that I have been using a couple hours now and them. I've ordered a ceramic 100 watt heater that should arrive soon that I think may be nicer. I think I will use continue to use the heat lamp (red or ceramic) below about 30*F for a couple hours in the evening until they are bigger and start laying.

The hens have been spending the nights together huddled in a nest box or on the coop floor. I think if they were warm enough they be on the nice roosting bar.

They have been eating very well. They have free access to pellets. I give them an ear of corn and a few leaves of lettuce every day. Occasional raisins, cottage cheese, even some earthworms I find for them. After three days in their run on nice grass, they've eaten the all the grass and sctatched up all the worms. Yesterday, I let them forage in the yard for an hour. They loved it. After an hour, they wandered back into their coop and settled down to rest. I opened their door today but it wa so cold and windy they didn't want to go out.



Anonymous Overall Gardener said...

Good for you for spoiling them after their long journey! It never gets below the 20s (at the very lowest) where we are in CA, but we still stuff extra straw in the coop and shut the door on cold nights. Our 1.5 year-old barred leghorn just molted for the first time, and she looked so ridiculous and forlorn in the chilly weather with no feathers. It's still a mystery to me why chickens molt just when it's getting cold.

November 24, 2013 11:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is fun reading about your new adventure.

November 25, 2013 5:25 AM

Blogger Green Zebra Market Garden said...

My chickens huddle together at night even during the hot summer time! I think they just like to cuddle.

November 25, 2013 10:12 AM

Anonymous Marian (LondonUK) said...

Hi,how exciting Chook Chooks. They are really pretty! My Mum had chickens and ducks when she was growing up and said the Chooks were quite affectionate one loved to sit on her lap and doze! My friend Jackie adopted 4 battery hens 2 years ago, when they arrived they looked very forlorn. But even though they had never been outside within a day they were outside scratching in the dirt, it was lovely to see. Their beaks grew back and their tail feathers grew, happy chickens.
Marian (London UK)

November 28, 2013 4:00 AM

Blogger Lara said...

My chickens huddle no matter what too. I'm hoping that they learn to snuggle in their nest boxes at night. Chickens are meant to be spoiled...they have such neat personalities. Mine love sunflower seeds. Enjoy your gals!

November 30, 2013 10:11 PM

Anonymous DS said...

How are the chickens doing?
Looking for updates

December 02, 2013 6:00 AM


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