I was delighted and inspired by the helpful comments and cheery suggestions readers of this blog made last week – thank you so much. Colder weather and dark evenings led me to ask for any useful hints and tips to make henkeeping in the colder months that bit more pleasant. I must confess that I can’t help looking forward to spring, when it becomes light enough on James’s and my return from work to see the girls before they head back to the coop. The cold snap earlier this week reminded me that the pipes and drinkers freeze in winter, although I now know not to put the containers directly on the ground but to place them on straw instead (thanks to Country Living‘s henkeeping expert Suzie Baldwin). The ideas from fellow henkeepers for making both us and our hens more comfortable include hanging an old set of Christmas lights around the pen and setting them on a timer so you can see what you’re doing in the evenings (brilliant!) and putting down a thick layer of wood shavings and chopped straw on the floor of the coop which chickens can snuggle down into (pick out any litter each day and top-up with more bedding).
However, one response in particular put our lot in perspective:
‘In the arctic North of Montana USA some folks use a red heat lamp any time it dips below freezing. The light gives our girls more “daylight” for laying, but also keeps our ladies and their eggs from freezing. Nothing worse than frozen, cracked eggs and when it can hover below freezing for weeks at a time, I rest easier knowing our chooks won’t suffer frostbitten combs.’
Frostbitten combs! Cripes. Thank goodness we live in East Anglia!