First Winter for Mille Fleur D'uccle

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sagenovese, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. Sagenovese

    Sagenovese Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2016
    Hi Folks,

    I got my first Mille Fleur bearded D'uccle this spring. She is 32 weeks old. Has never layed an egg yet. Winter and cold weather is moving in and I don't know if she needs special accommodations for the winter. She has muffs, beard and feathered legs and a medium single comb. She looks like she has full winter gear but I have heard that this breed is not winter hardy. How do I know if she needs more winter protection?

    We live in Pennsylvania and have pretty tough winters often into teens and single digits, sometimes for weeks at a time. My coop is very open. Bottom four feet is hardware wire and top is wood surround with roosting posts inside. My hens have nested in trees preferring that to old small tractor coop. I have electricity and have heat lamp and timer, that I haven't been using yet this impending winter. All of my other breeds are winter hardy so I don't wish to overheat. I have tarp covering coop now to keep out wind and help hold heat. Worked fine last year but MFD'u is new this winter. I am considering making wooden panels to fit in front of wire mesh. I have a wooden platform on one level with two wooden sides and I would think it the warmest part of coop, least drafty, but she isn't choosing to sleep there.

    Any suggestions/recommendations?


    Thanks!
     
  2. mymilliefleur

    mymilliefleur Keeper of the Flock

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    My d'Uccles do fine here in our cold, wet tennessee winters, and I know a lot of people further north that raise d'Uccles with out any problems or added heat. Drafts are a big no no, so I would definitely suggest adding some wood to the bottom of the coop to block the wind. You don't want to seal the coop up though because ventilation is also important. Is she going to be sleeping by her self? If she has other birds to snuggle between and share heat with then she will be fine. I would be a little worried if she were sleeping alone though. If you use deep bedding that also adds some heat to the coop.
    Good luck with her, I hope she does fine for you this winter.
     
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I've had Belgian d'Uccles here in Michigan for a very long time, and they are winter hardy! Love them! you can wrap the lower part of your run with plastic to keep out the wind. [​IMG]

    Mary
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    My Wisconsin d'uccle are very hardy too. I haven't had any chickens, large, or small that didn't do fine in winter.
     
  5. Sagenovese

    Sagenovese Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2016
    Thanks, Everyone! I feel relieved to hear all of this. I will work on adding wood panels to keep out any wind. Sadly, she does sleep alone. I bought 3 MFDs but one did not survive the first night with us. The other was a male and vanished on Labor Day weekend-he used to sleep with her. My hens mostly free-range unless I get worried about predators and then they stay in jail until I think it is safe. I don't know what took him. My nieghbor's dog took 3 other of that brood in September so perhaps he got the little roo, too. We have hawks but we have excellent low cover so the hawks don't have easy prey and don't seem to think it is worth their effort. We had a fox who got several this spring but I think neighbors may have shot fox as it hasn't been seen in months. In any case, I only have 5 in the coop right now. None of them snuggle with her... bigger hens all get along but seem to have their own sleeping arrangements. I bought 5 new chicks but none are MFDs and are still in their own intro coop for the moment. I am a little nervous about the move to the big coop but they are fine free ranging together now, so perhaps it is time to integrate.

    If I order another 3-some MFDs, do you think that eventually they will snuggle all together? Or do you suppose that she will always be a loner?

    Thanks for advice!
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I have tried ordering d'uccle from the hatchery and it is hard to get them to survive the trip, so order extra or find some locally. Your best way to add more would be to wait until she goes broody than give her some eggs to hatch or slip her some chicks. Birds not raised together don't tend to bond like clutch mates or mom and chicks do.
     
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    My order of bantams and standard chicks from Cackle arrived in great shape last April, during a cold snap. We ordered 40 chicks, and got 47 healthy birds who all did beautifully. They added a warm pack, and all was well. Too bad you aren't closer; I've got three extra pullets, hatched here this June. Mary
     
  8. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just wondering if yours will snuggle when it gets colder? We're in Pennsylvania, too and I would say our annual temperatures range from a high of 104 in summer down to -10 which we had two winters ago. I had gotten one mille fleur d'uccle in with some Old English game bantams I purchased and I have all my chickens in one coop over the winter, both large fowl and bantams and all are fine. I don't use supplemental heat or light and have never had a problem. We do spread pine shavings on the floor extra thick. This will be the bantams third winter.
     
  9. Sagenovese

    Sagenovese Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2016
    Hard to predict if she will have someone to snuggle with this winter. The only other survivor from her brood is a Black Copper Marans who is broody now and seems to be the only hen actually picking on her and running her off. Not sure what exactly that is about. The older hens don't seem to have anything against her. The 2 month old pullets are getting to know her and she shows a polite dominance over them. But it doesn't seem like anyone is actually a buddy for her.

    So, perhaps the best thing to do then is wait for her to go broody and get her some fertile hatching eggs. She is 33 weeks old now and has never laid an egg for me. I read they are slow to mature but I still thought I'd have that first egg by now. I think I've read other folks getting their first MFD eggs around 25 weeks. So, I suppose that stress from the predator attacks in September when she might have been maturing to lay set her back. And now, it is cold and we are nearing the shortest day of the year so she may wait until spring to lay that first egg.
     
  10. mymilliefleur

    mymilliefleur Keeper of the Flock

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    When it starts to get colder she will probably figure out that it is warmer sleeping with the other chickens. If not, you can go into the coop after they go to roost and put her in between the other hens. After a few days she will probably learn to sleep with them.
    I have 3 d'Uccle pullets that are just starting to lay now at around 27 weeks. Some will wait to after the soltice to start laying. The predator attack could have stressed her out, but I think she has probably gotten over that by now. Is her comb turning red?
    I would rather buy local or mail order chicks then risk buying hatching eggs, but that is just me.
     

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