[FONT=tahoma,arial,helvetica,sans-serif]It's been 8 months and then some. I remember because I bought them on April Fool's day, thinking I was going to become a fool. In some ways, I have. The 6 chix are all hens and we get nearly a half dozen eggs every day. It's just me and the GF. WAAAAAAAAAAY too many eggs! But the dawgs get their share, Basil and Parsley. The coop works fine, but we are braced for a day in the 20s tomorrow and Monday. I'm hoping it ain't too cold for the birds, but GF is not agreeing to putting any light in the coop, never mind the heat lamp. On the heat lamp, I agree. It really cooks! We almost had chick veal in the first days before I made a scaffold to raise the light two feet from the babies. Okay, back to the present! So, there's the nesting box which had a 1/2 space between the door and the back wall. I put some weatherstripping right there. It stuck when I put it on, but we'll see if the sticking actually lasts through the freezing. The door on the front didn't hang right, so in those spaces, I have jammed feed bags to keep the draft out. In the end, there are small vents at the top anyway. I've left them open. However, here's another tale of the birds. We like to take off for days at a time, and the GF is super protective of the birds, so she is opposed to leaving their coop open even though the run is inside a 4' fence sunk a foot into the dirt. So I built a skybridge out the back, tin roof and all, to a platform surrounded by hardware cloth 1/2" mesh, with regular chicken wire over the top at 2'. This platform is also 4' by 8', plywood sheet size, and painted to match the coop which matches the pole barn. It's all country barn red! Now what would Clint Eastwood say? So, with the bitter cold coming, I put a 4" thick chunk off a hay bale at the end, and braced with with a board and a milk crate. Then, on the inside, I did the same thing. So now the birds can't use their 24th inch pen-house, but with the icy conditions, I don't think they mind. They'll probably squawk about it when the sun returns, I'm sure. So, it's late and time for bed. We just hope they're all still kicking when we go out to feed them tomorrow and give them some liquid water.[/FONT]
Before we turn in, here is another chicken story to share. One day, we started feeding them garden scraps. About 3 days later, we noticed a couple birds had been pecked bare on their backs. Having no idea what it was, I consulted here and learned about how their nutrient balance might have been thrown off by the scraps. Evidently, there is a ratio in their feed that want awry with the added scraps so they sought their protein needs in the feathers of others, after they had eaten all the feathers on the ground. I say this because, 1. there had been a lot of feathers all around the yard for days earlier and they were now ALL gone, and 2. I read that Oil Sunflower seeds could help them come around. So I bought them a bag and it worked! One bird still has a bare spot, but it's getting better. The others seems to have filled in. The sole bare spot is not getting worse and we sprayed her and the others with Blu-Kote for awhile. I feed them a handful of sunflower seeds every day now, two in these cold days. Okay, enuff fer now! I'll post again some day, but no one really knows when, especially me! LOL.