Montana - Page 320
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I do worry about the girls during the winter. We're not there to check up on them as we're snowbirds and are in Arizona at the moment. For water I bought a tote from Walmart...10 or 15 gallons I'd guess. Bought a 250 watt stock tank heater that is okay to use in plastic. Added some horizontal nipples. So far the house sitter says it's all working well. The girls (and 2 boys) are in Kalispell.
The house sitter says they are still laying 6 eggs a day as usual even with the weather in the single digits. They won't walk in the snow so I guess it's good that I bought tarps and clear shower curtains to cover their run.
Reading about everyone else's chickens and what they've done to help them through the winter is helping me cope with my separation anxiety. The house sitter is such a nice man but he doesn't realize my need for pictures and information and telling me about what the girls are doing.
So please, I'm asking you to tell me how your girls are coping. What your girls are doing. Anything and everything will be appreciated.
Mine have a deep bed of pine shavings inside their chicken house, and at night three of them kind of snuggle down together in the shavings. The other three like to roost. I have the same set up as you do for the water, and so far it's working well. Although the ducks all go for a morning swim and splash all the water out!
The house sitter says he opens the door to their run, and they just look but will not set a foot across the threshold. Guess they are pansies.
I am surprised and pleased that mine are laying just as many eggs as they did in the fall. The older ones hatched on Feb 27th. I do have 4 others I was given that hatched in June. When I left in early November they still had pink combs so they probably won't lay until February. My neighbors were all complaining that their girls had all but stopped laying.
I have never spent a winter in Montana so have no idea what it's like. It seems to be colder than what I remember growing up in Pittsburgh from what I read online. Otherwise I have mostly lived on an island in Washington where it seldom gets really cold. I did my best to try to get the coop and run as ready as I could. Did a LOT of reading here in the forums.
I'm also using pine shavings. The coop is tucked into the house. The house is L shaped so those two sides of the coop won't get any wind. Have 2 vents up high. One hardware cloth covered window in the side that faces the house. Their little chicken door stays open to their run that is covered in tarps and clear shower curtains on the sides. I have no heat and no lights in the coop. The food and water are in the run. I did my best to see to the comfort of the girls as well as making it as easy as possible for the house sitter.