Blizzard Condition Adjustments for Free-Range Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by centrarchid, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Today my birds are experiencing the first blizzard condtions of 2012-2013 winter season. Wind speeds are in sustained lower to middle 30's (mph), temperatures are dropping into mid-20s and ground is wet but freezing. Birds are feeding heavily then moving to areas protected from wind and then fluffing up. Areas sought for protection from wind are not the same as feeding stations so they have to tough it out when feeding. Tonight after they consume all their alloted quality feed and scratch, they will be offered whole corn as much as they want. Some of the birds roost in locations that provide little or no protection from wind so they need more fuel for the furnace. Corn is not balanced nutritionally but it is an excellent energy source and it is energy they need to stay warm. Another challenge for many is that many are on tail end of molt so insulatory qualities of feathers not yet maximal. Hopefully feathers will be in place by time below zero blizzard conditions are realized.
     
  2. wlbaker3

    wlbaker3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Pretty amazing how well they adapt/adjust for the weather, isn't it?
     
  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    I know what you mean, centrakid. The blizzard came through here last night. Today - sunny but cold and windy. The birds haven't left their coop all day. I actually closed their door since they weren't leaving and brought food and water inside the coop. I can only assume they are freaked out by the snow - it's cold but not, I think too cold for them to venture out.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I checked birds on front porch for crop fill. None had detectable food in crop. Based on tracks in snow, they spent entire day in location protected from wind. Despite food being present away from cover, they did not consume any based on absence of tracks. If weather would continue to be harsh this would continue for a couple days before birds would brave cold and wind at feeder. Conditions, especially with respect to wind will improve tomorrow so normal activities will likely resume. Birds all fat so ample energy reserves available for insulation and heat generation.
     
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    How have you not made educator Centrachid?

    I enjoy your posts. Very interesting reads.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I'm a jerk! Or at least try to be.
     
  7. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    [​IMG]

    You're to the point. There needs to be people that won't sugar coat things.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Weather is consderably milder now in the mid 20's with breeze 5 - 10m mph and sky is clear. Birds still operating as if cold. They hit feeder, filled crops then move to areas sheltered from wind but in full sun. They also are loafing in areas that are becoming snow free or providing elevated places to perch on wood. Birds sitting close together with feathers fluffed up. They may be trying to build back weight lost over last couple days when feed intake was restricted. It will require a more extreme weather event next round to get them to not feed unless they are already under weight. The game chickens are also taking short flights to avoid drifts.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Today it has been in mid 20's and overcast. Birds are not trying to stay in sunny locations because they do not exist so their distributions are not so predictable other than they spend a great deal of time on wooden materials protected from the slight breeze.
     

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