Whoa! Tonight and tomorrow night are going to be interesting nights around the homestead with regards to the chickens. It is supposed to get down to the low temperature so far for the season, a bitter cold 6 degrees F. WHOA! I have read and read and read on this, and the experts say to not worry about the chickens. If they have a draft free coop, they will be fine. Furthermore, the experts mostly advise against heating the coop, which I have already done once this year, as it is a tremendous fire hazard. I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t a little bit worried. Two things I have read give me comfort though. First, the wild birds make it without the conveniences these birds have. Second, each one of these birds basically carries a down filled coat at all times. I guess I feel better about 16 degrees F after the last couple of bitter cold spells, and after this one I will feel better about single digits.
There are several changes coming up with the chicken pen. The next one, which might happen in as little as two weeks, is an extension on one side of the run. This will serve a couple of purposes. First, it will give the chickens more area to move around, but more importantly, it will allow me to attach a chicken tunnel to the run. A chicken tunnel, or a chunnel, is basically a small semi-circle that runs wherever you wish it to run in your yard, allowing the chickens easy space to stretch their legs and beat boredom. It also gets them out into the grass more, which allows them to supplement their diet with more bugs and greenery, both of which are important for healthy eggs.
Speaking of eggs, I am so ready for the days to lengthen where the Easter Eggers will start laying regularly again. They are producing almost nothing at all, and the four Rhode Island Reds are having trouble keeping up with the egg demands of this house. 😀
Oh, speaking of eggs, I thought I would give an overview of the laying for 2014:
- Easter Eggers (6): 313/2.07 a day/3.28 eggs per week, per bird
- Rhode Island Reds (4): 425/2.81 a day/4.92 eggs per week, per bird
So basically our flock of ten produced 61.5 dozen eggs since August 3, when they started laying. Not bad.