Well, winter has finally hit. We here at the Kuntry Klucker are experiencing the coldest air so far this year. Snow flurries are in the air and the girls are not impressed. I am sure everyone has heard the phrase “all cooped up” at one point or another, well the ladies are demonstrating the meaning of that phrase. They are all cooped up today because they refuse to come out of their coop. I let them out this morning, they got their morning eats and sips. Then it was back up into the coop where it is warm and the bitter winter winds are at bay. I am glad that they find their coop comfortable on these cold winter days. I have done all that I can to make it comfortable for them and a haven on the coldest of days.
Not much action is happening in the pen or the chicken yard/playground today. I allowed them access to their playground (outdoor enclosed run) earlier today, but there were no takers. I don’t blame them. After a while I closed up that door to their coop because they preferred to stay where it was warm and dry. It is amazing how funny chickens can be. You know its cold when the chickens refuse to come out of the coop. I make sure I check on them often to fill their feeders and keep their water fresh and unfrozen. They eat a lot more on these cold days, so the feeders empty faster than on a day when they are out hunting and pecking in the yard. When free ranging they find some of their own food anyway, but today when they have confined themselves to their coop they are taking down the feed.
Many people ask me if I heat my coop. This is a subject that I think most chicken owners take one side or the other on. For me I choose no. My reasons are this. Whenever you introduce heat to the coop your introduce the risk of fire and injury to your birds. No matter how well you mount a heat lamp there is always the risk of one of the girls flapping or a group of them flapping in the coop and knocking it off. With all the wood shaving in the coop that is a recipe for a definite coop fire. Additionally, when heat is introduced to the coop it puts the birds at greater risk for illness. Chickens do much better when they are allowed to regulate their own body temperature by fluffing their feathers and trapping body heat against their body. If the coop is heated they are at greater risk of getting chilled as they go into he unheated run to get food and water creating the possibility for illness and death. I make sure I provide a shelter that is dry, draft free, and warm due to the deep layers of shaving and of course the girls themselves. Most of the time on cold winter night they will huddle together for warmth and keep each other warm and healthy naturally.
Many other chicken keepers feel differently about heating the coop. If done safely it can be accomplished, I however choose to reduce the risk of fire, injury, and death by allowing the girls to use their natural abilities to beat the cold. For 5 years they have done a great job. I do all I can to help them but allow them to take the wheel and do the rest.
One cold winter mornings I will treat them to a warm plate of oatmeal and raisins which they thoroughly appreciate and enjoy. They look forward to their warm breakfasts, but then again who would’t.
In a few days we are forecasted to get a bit of a warm up and better days for letting the girls out into the yard and their playground. But for today it is an all cooped up day.
Thanks for reading and following our adventures. Till next time, keep on crowing.
~The Kuntry Klucker Crew