Surviving Minnesota!

Discussion in 'Where am I? Where are you!' started by Bogtown Chick, Nov 18, 2015.

  1. KlopKlop

    KlopKlop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed. The fines are probably all the nutrients they add and stuff.

    Making mash is a good idea. Doubly so if I let it ferment a bit.
     
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  2. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Overrun With Chickens

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    No Underwires found. I could take off the entire pump I guess and then take that apart to see what's inside the pump. But the impeller looked clear and moved around. As it is the repair guy can't get here until next Wednesday. I have more than a week to tinker with this thing. DS will gladly help and I'll keep DH and his missing cajones in the kitchen I guess. LOL.

    As written above I think I will dig deeper as long as I'm getting more confident with the pliers. (and Phillips screwdriver). Thanks for the other points to check ...too. That's awesome.

    Sadie: is a nut-can dominant PITA dog who had a heart murmur as a pup. She should not have puppies. Sorry to say. But we've never been the family that does pups. The kids would love it though. I love snuggling with her on the couch but DH and I need sleep. We are overweight and toss and turn to find comfortable spots as it is. Bad backs/hips do not find comfort with dogs that are too hot lying between legs. She's adorable but I don't like all the shedding hair on the bed either.

    Heeeeyyyyy! Good Morning Cyrus. What's happening? STaying warm on those towers? Hope all is well with Babe on the way. How much longer now?
    The birds like that mash with a little water in it. Saves on waste too. Excellent idea for non freezing sorts of weather.
     
  3. ejb3810

    ejb3810 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cyrus, where have you been? We have been worried sick about you.
     
  4. ejb3810

    ejb3810 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ralphie boy, that is some recipe for cough medicine. I am sure after about 6 doses of that it seems as though the sore throat is a thing of the past.
    No Judy on New Years Eve? Are you sure there is no Northwoods wench or pretty Sasquatch involved in this? You best be careful or Judy will have some backwoods private detective checking on you.
     
  5. Cluckies

    Cluckies Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Glad they are doing better. When I clean the henhouse I usually dust along the corners and edges with a nylon filled with garden and poultry dust, just run it along all seams. I haven't seen any yet. Also, when the girls start shaking their heads every few seconds I'll dust them, their neck, under wings, back, bum, and under belly, then redust a few days later. they stop shaking their head. still haven't seen any critters though...

    Welcome to the thread, and congrats on the girls. I have a Golden comet, buff orp and ee as well. I don't have a barred though, I have 2 silver laced wyandottes. this fall I wrote up an article on my first winter last year withe a few chickens, i'll repost it for you. first winter is always the hardest I think, the worry was terrible!

    Cyrus! good to see you, hope you and your family had a great Christmas!
     
  6. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler Premium Member

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    She will be there. I doubt Mrs Sasquatch will come around with her there. I might even splurge and take Judy to the Junction Bar for a burger.

    I might even try to catch a huge Northern...
     
  7. Cluckies

    Cluckies Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    @AllisonWndrlnd1 here is the article, the rest of you can skip it as you've seen it already [​IMG]

    Lesson’s from a small coop chicken keeper, in winter, in Minnesota

    (Mostly learned from mistakes I’ve made my first year)

    1 – Ventilation
    Ventilation is good, drafts are bad.
    Keep the ventilation up high. Do not let it run from low, up over the hens, and out.
    Keep the hens’ heads out of the ventilation as well.
    It should be passive ventilation, no wind, no drafts.
    So, I wasn’t ready for winter last year when in November it went from 53 degrees and 100% humidity to 4 days later, below zero and still 80% humidity. It was terribly, terribly wet. And cold.
    My chickens were up high, in the ventilation. I had the high roost up over the vent holes at the bottom, the ventilation came right up and over them. My fault, 2 ended up with frostbite (on their combs). The two closest to the ventilation holes on the bottom.
    Took out the high roost, so now they are on a low roost on the back wall the farthest away from the low ventilation holes as they can get. No new frostbite after that. I close off the low ventilation when it gets very cold or if the wind is blowing from that direction.

    2 - The drier the better.
    So, my henhouse is approx. 4.5x6.5x6ft. It is a good size for 5 or 6 chickens to sleep. Just under 30 square ft. So, how to keep moisture down in such a small area? It is not easy.
    I laid down a bag of Sweet PDZ, (Horse Stall Refresher) directly on the floor of the henhouse, then covered the sweet PDZ with pine shavings. This keeps the henhouse drier. The sweet PDZ is zeolite. I fluff the PDZ into the shavings regularly, keeps everything dry.
    From the sweet PDZ site: How Does Sweet PDZ Work?
    Sweet PDZ is extremely effective at neutralizing and removing ammonia and odors, because of its two special properties:
    Adsorption - Which is the sticking of the ammonia gas molecule to the surface of the Sweet PDZ granule. When the Sweet PDZ granules desorb, or dries out, the ammonia odor molecule is driven off the surface of the mineral as nitrogen. This is why spent (used) bedding material that includes Sweet PDZ, works so well as a slow release fertilizer or as an enhancement to composting.
    So, it not only keeps it drier in the henhouse, it absorbs odor and keeps ammonia down as well. A win/win.
    If you have frost on the inside of your windows, it is too wet in there, you need to lower the humidity. You can try more ventilation up high, or drier bedding, or both.

    3 – Do you need heat?
    Many people say no. Do you need it? Probably not. As the guy at the feed store said, he only lost a couple to the cold last year. The year before that was way worse. When you have many, many chickens, it is probably no big deal, when you have 5-6 or less? And they are pets? Yeah. So, I did add heat. No heat lamps, risk of fire is too high. I added a Cozy legs flat panel wall mounted ceramic heater, it gets hot to the touch, but does not get burning hot to the touch. Now, people say, “Well what if the power goes out? They’ll be used to having heat, so now they will die.” Ummm, so there is a difference between heating to take the edge off and heating to 70 degrees. I have my heater plugged into a thermocube, it turns on at zero and stays on until it climbs back up to 10 degrees above zero. So basically, last year when the temp went to 24 below, it turned on at zero, had to try and heat the hen house, by the time it got to 24 below zero, the henhouse was up to a balmy 7 degrees above zero. If the power goes out, which it did last year on a very cold night, the hens were fine. They weren’t used to being warm, it was just enough heat to take the edge off. I also placed a seeding mat on the wall behind the roost. The seedling mat heats up to 10-15 degrees above ambient. I didn’t think it was doing much (this was before I got the flat panel heater) but one morning I went out there, it was below zero, they were all facing the wall, so they must have felt the heat coming off of it)
    I also placed a piece of left over green house panel above the roost to keep the body heat around them, did I need it? Don’t know, I was just experimenting, but it seemed to work pretty well, so I left it.
    I was going to put that silver reflective blanket on the walls. I actually did, but the hens wouldn’t go on the roost because they were scared, so I took it out, didn’t really need it.

    4 – The run
    Cover the run and block the wind on at least the north, west, and east sides. (I now block all sides) You can use whatever you want. I use green house panels because they are sturdy, and fit against my hardware cloth well, and can be taken down and put up quickly. But, they are spendy. If I wasn’t using those, I would use thick clear plastic sheeting. Some people use tarps, but they are hard to keep in place and they make it dark in the run. The plastic sheeting lets light in. If you use plastic sheeting, I’d rig it somehow where you can lift up the south side and put them down when it is raining or snowing. It rained in my run last year, then it froze. Don’t want them jumping off of roosts onto frozen ground. Then it snowed in my run, and I was shoveling out the run. No good. So then I put the panels up on every side all winter long, I left the south side open, but did add them to the south side when it is going to rain or snow. The plus side of the greenhouse panels was that on very cold days it warmed up the run a little. Win/win.

    5 – Frozen Water
    I do not keep water in the henhouse, remember, you want it dry in there. Plus, mine only go in the henhouse to sleep, or to lay eggs, even at 24 below they were in the run, out of the wind, but in the run.
    I keep 2 waterers out in the run because I’m a worry warden. If one freezes up, hopefully the other one doesn’t. I leave for work at 5am and don’t get home until 4 or after, so I need heated waterers, or it would be frozen by the time they get up and out to the run around 8 or so.
    I have an electric dog dish, raised off of the ground. Inside of that I place a black rubber dish which I can change out easily. I place a gallon jug of sand in the middle so the chickens can’t walk in it. I bring the rubber bowl and the bottle of sand in overnight to warm up. (some people use a dog dish, the plastic one with the straight sides and they put an ice cream bucket in there, good idea as well). When it got really cold, below zero, I had to take the rubber bowl out and use the heated dog dish directly. The second waterer I have is a 2 gallon pail with horizontal nipples. Inside I have a bird bath deicer, and a pond pump that keeps it circulating. I did try the Farm Innovators 3 Gal. heated plastic poultry fountain, from fleet farm, the white one with the red plastic bottom, it froze. But that is not why I stopped using it. One day when I was picking it up to bring it in and refill it, the bottom came off, there was water all over the run. I was scooping up extremely cold water in below freezing weather with my bare hands trying to get it out of my run before it froze. Ouch.
    My waterers are plugged into a thermocube that comes on at 35 degrees and shuts off at 45 degrees.
    Some people only use the rubber dishes, then they turn them over, stomp them out, and refill. If I was home while the chickens were up and out, I would have no problem with this, as I know they would get water before it froze. I use these in the summer.
    Some people also use cookie tin heaters, or cinder block chicken water heaters. Google each for directions on how to make them, they seem to work really well.

    6 – Nesting boxes
    Frozen eggs. When you leave for work at 5am and get home at 4pm, it is unavoidable. However, I only had a few frozen eggs last year. I bought an unheated pet warming pad, where their body temp warms up the pad. Since my hens always use the same box, and take turns, it seemed to work most days to keep the eggs un-frozen. One in, one out, one in, one out… so this seemed to work for the most part. I’ve seen where they use seedling mats, it heats the mat to 10 to 15 degrees above ambient temp. Be careful, I bought one to try and just placed it in the main part of the henhouse with pine shaving over it, as it heated the shavings, the temp went up, then the mat temp went up (remember 15 degrees above ambient) then the shavings heated up, then the mat. Pretty soon the mat was up to 90 degrees. So I nixed that. But maybe if you don’t cover it too much it would be fine? Let me know if you decide to try this. If it gets really cold and stays there, I may resort to a heating pad set on the lowest setting and see if that works. I bought one that you can turn off the automatic shut off. Plastic and you can place the cover on it, or not. We’ll see about this, if needed. I’m kind of scared to do this, will the hens stay in the nest box all day because it is warm? I don’t know.
    If I think of anything I forgot, I’ll come back and update.

    7 - Dust baths
    I have 3 areas for dust baths in my run, now. You really only need 1, they will share. I take a big rubber round feed thing from fleet farm and a rubber maid tote and add organic peat moss. sometimes i'll DE to it if I remember. they love it. lesson learned, buy a few bags in the fall before winter, as midwinter, you cannot find it. I get the organic peat moss from Fleet farm or Menards. The girls love it and get in it as soon as I put it in there, they pick around in it, then dive in.


    Well, it is just what I learned, take it or leave it and enjoy your girls!
     
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  8. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Overrun With Chickens

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    Last edited: Dec 29, 2015
  9. KlopKlop

    KlopKlop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm glad you like them. We have enjoyed writing them. Was it you who gave me the idea in the first place?

    I think we will do one more next week then take a break for a while. We have shown off one of each breed so far except the leghorns because they have been molting so hard. They are presentable now.

    I am thinking we will do a weekly post about eggs and stuff for a few weeks. Probably share some recipes. We kicked around and idea about having customers submit chicken questions and answering them but that will really rely on people submitting enough questions and I just don't think we have a big enough following. So... If anybody has any good ideas of things to post on our farm's Facebook page to keep our egg customers busy, please let me know!!
     
  10. Rhetts

    Rhetts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Exciting news!! It looks like the Herefords (one at least) is starting to puff up on the backside(Holm close your ears................not sure if I can say v*g*na here) and her teats are getting bigger even looks like she has some udder. Before she was teensy tiney with little nubbins for teats and no udder to speak of so this is major here!! Very excited!!

    For the cow experts.......... how long after we notice the swelling are we looking at for delivery days or weeks? I didn't notice any leakage from her backside. This is her second calf. No idea how delivery went first time round.

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