Winter has finally arrived! BRRRRRRR. I woke to temperatures in the high twenties. The waterers are now iced over in the morning and the flock is hesitant to leave their warm coop to come outside for a drink. As I was snuggled in my bed last night, I could not help and wonder if they were cold. I have read that cold hardy birds are very tolerant to dropping temperatures. Birds are not mammals like us and treat cold weather differently than their human friends. I guess I should not gauge their feelings about the weather based on mine, but sometimes I can’t help it.
I have been bringing in the waterers to the house every morning to defrost. It only takes about a minute to remove the chunks of ice that have formed overnight. When finally thawed, I have been filling the waterers with warm water. As I walk outside, I can see steam rising off the water. The chickens love it. They love drinking the warm water. It is as though they are having a morning cup of tea. It must feel good inside.
Yesterday, I also introduced them to plain warm oatmeal. They were apprehensive at first and I’m not sure if they really liked it all that much. They ate about half of it. At least the girls lower in the pecking order, got their fill.
These past few days, they have spent in the coop. Their feather have grown in very thickly after their fall molt. Underneath the top coat of feathers, I notice the fluffy downy feathers. I can also report, that I am still getting eggs. Chickens will not lay eggs when they are stressed. So, I suppose that is also another good indicator as to their comfort level.
So for now, I am going to create a tarp for the run that will protect the area from snow, I am going to refrain from putting a heat lamp in the coop, and I am going to watch the flock’s feet, combs and wattles for signs of frostbite. However, knowing me, I am still going to worry over this winter about the flock’s comfort. Spring can’t come soon enough!