The little girls are now 12 weeks old and really starting to look like real chickens! The Buff Brahma bantams’ combs are beginning to turn a bit red, which makes me think that they will be the ones to lay before the other chickens that they grew up with.
Cooler days are also starting to arrive. Molting has begun and I swear, some mornings when I open the coop it looks as though a chicken has exploded! Just the other day as I was scooping up freshly fallen feathers in my hands from the run and Fluffy, one of our new Easter Eggers, came over to me and stole a large feather right out of my hand. She was so proud of herself!
As fall arrives, I begin to think about the shorter, colder days and months ahead. There are many things that you can do to make life easier for you and your chickens. Here are some things you might want to consider if you keep chickens:
How will you deal with or prevent freezing waterers?
What are some things you can do to winterize the coop?
Will you heat the coop? We don’t for a number of reasons. You can read why here
Fall is also a very exciting time for those of us who raised baby chicks in the spring. Our babies are now maturing pullets who will soon be laying their first eggs. Pullets will begin to lay eggs when they are around 18 weeks of age. One thing to keep in mind is the larger the breed, the longer the wait for the first egg. Sometimes, that can even be 24 weeks. As the pullets get close to laying you may find them spending more time in the nesting boxes. Sometimes they practice! Their combs and wattles will also begin to turn from pink to red. Be sure that once your pullets are laying eggs, that they are on a layer feed.
Pumpkins are also soon to be in season. I think my girls look forward to me adding a fresh pumpkin to their run each fall. Pumpkins are great boredom busters and have lots of health benefits
Lastly, it’s a good idea to give the coop a good deep cleaning
before winter arrives and it gets too cold. Because of the freezing temperatures, I do not do a deep cleaning of my coop in the cold of winter. Instead I scoop up the droppings daily and add them to the compost pile. Once every few weeks I replenish the coop with a layer of fresh pine shavings.
Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest