Well, they surprised me

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dragonlair, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. dragonlair

    dragonlair Chillin' With My Peeps

    568
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    Apr 29, 2008
    Maine
    Due to an injury, i didn't get my chicken coop and yards made the way i wanted too. By the time I was able, the snow had come. So, I have 1 chicken coop with 13 young'uns in it but no outside pen. They recently started laying. Yup, dead of winter, no lights, below freezing temps (lately, below 0!) and I am getting at least 7 eggs a day. Frozen eggs, the dogs and chickens are thrilled with the warm, hard boiled eggs!

    The bantam Polish and Frizzle Cochins and a couple of crosses of the 2 for a total of 7 are living in a well bedded dog house inside a 8x10 chain link dog pen. They are doing fine.

    The 6 older layers have a similar set up but have roosts in the chain link pen (10x10). Half sleep in the bedded dog crate, the others sleep on the roosts. One of them is still laying one HUGE egg (even too big to fit in a jumbo egg carton and it's a single yolk) a day, no lights at all.

    The temps have been down well below freezing with a wind chill of -30 for 2 of those days. The past few days it's been below 0. Today is a heat wave-it's 6 degrees. So far all the chooks have been healthy and I have yet to find them shivering. I feed them their layer pellets every morning with warm water. In the afternoon they get more water and a mash of soaked cat food, hard boiled eggs and anything else I have hanging around.

    This spring I am planning to meld the 2 layers groups into 1 and open the chain link dog pen, making it larger than it is right now for them. The bantams will remain by themselves, but will have a proper coop to call their own.

    I had made temp emergency housing for them, small but it would have been a bit warmer, if they had shown signs of illness or shivering or lost weight. Haven't needed it so far. They don't care for the snow at all, but I feed them in a non-snowy area so they don't have to wander around in it.

    I am definitely going to hatch out some chicks from these girls since they seem to thrive in our Maine winters!
     

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