Different people have different ways of dealing with cold weather and chickens. Some build coops better insulated than our old house. Others wire the coop with electricity so they can run heat lamps out there. My feeling is that their molting process in the Fall equips them well for colder temperatures, as they grow in new, dense feathers. They fluff them up to hold in the heat and snuggle next to each other to stay warm.
Last week my old friend Dave suggested we wrap the coop enclosure with a large tarp. He said that worked well out on his farm, as the chickens’ body heat keeps the inside area quite toasty. Luckily we had this conversation last week and got the coop all ready, before this latest dumping of snow rolled in.
Right now there is about 12″-18″ of snow at our place, which is totally unheard of for Portland. A couple times of day we go out to check on them and this morning I had to literally dig my way out to the coop, then dig around the coop to get the door open! Their waterer was frozen, so we replaced it with warmer water. Maude, Florence and Pearl all came tumbling out of the hen house when they heard me and took turns getting fresh drinks of water.
I threw in some fresh, fluffy straw to keep them warm in both the hen house and the run. On an old plate I piled up some scratch, which Pearl was not shy about digging into. The egg production has tapered off, which I expected with the cold weather. Hopefully later this week things will get back to normal and we can enjoy some delicious fritattas for breakfast again.
Hope you’re staying warm somewhere!