We had a spot of snow again last night, so I checked on the girls this morning. When the temperatures drop below freezing, we make sure they have thawed water and fluffy straw to keep them warm. There were icicles hanging from the coop roof, but inside things were warm and cheerful. Alas, still no eggs in the nesting boxes though.
Pearl stopped laying eggs last August when she was going through her gender crisis. She is about five years old and may just be done laying eggs for good. Maude and Florence are almost a year old and were laying eggs regularly right up until Arctic Blast 2008. They stopped the week before Christmas and haven’t started back up again yet. I am not sure if it’s because of the short daylight hours or just the colder weather. It just kills me to buy eggs from the store!
Florence oddly decided to molt around her neck over the last couple weeks, so she looks a little scruffy still. I have noticed the three girls all sleeping on the same perch at night to stay warm together, but during the daylight hours they have been happily free-ranging through the backyard. I haven’t planted any seeds in the veggie beds, so there is nothing out there for them to destroy.
In general, the chickens seem quiet resilient to this chilly temperatures. Those down jackets they wear really go a long way to hold in their body heat. We have been bringing them snacks of scratch and leftover noodles to keep them fat and sassy.
They really are such low-maintenance creatures and I am eagerly awaiting the first egg of the new year. Store-bought eggs just can’t compare to fresh organic eggs from your own backyard. I’m hopeful that within the month we’ll be back in business!