First Snow

chicken-snow-prints

One of the biggest surprises I had when I watched the chickens grow up was how enormous their feet are! They really are BIG! Seeing their first footprints in the snow made me laugh so hard you can see one of the girls looking at me as if asking “What’s the matter with you?!”

Luckily we knew ahead of time when the first snow of the season was coming. The girls had been having such a long summer and the temperature never dropped below 40 degrees. They predicted temperatures to go up to 80 degrees and then drop to 15 degrees overnight! Poor girls could not physically handle that kind of change without help. A lot of people had ads up trying to quickly sell their chickens before the snow came. I think the hobby backyard chicken people were a little overwhelmed over how to take care of their chickens in the winter!

We quickly jumped into action. We first pulled out the red heating lamps we got when they were baby chicks. We definitely needed heat since the girls haven’t been under 40 degrees. We need to slowly wean them down to the high 20s which I understand is very normal for them to live in. Looking at the hanging lights, I remembered the chicken that flew up into the tree a couple weeks earlier. I could see our crazy girls trying to land on the lights and shattering them. I definitely don’t want them to start the coop on fire!

Hubby researched the latest heating technology and found thin flat panel heaters that looked like a TV! I’m impressed! Not too expensive either. Bought a couple, tried them out and they ended up being a great addition to the Tajmacoop!

The snow came and the temperature dropped to 15 degrees. The coop temperature however, was at 33 degrees. Yay!

To keep with our regular daily schedule, I got a large cup full of cracked corn, tossed it just outside the chicken door, then opened the door for the hens. Like usual, the hens came running out. Looking at the snow in shock, they pecked a little, had a hard time finding the corn, gave up and went running back inside!

So I set the girls up for a day inside and tossed chicken crack all over the floor of the coop. They starting scratching and kicking up a cloud! I quickly shut them up and went to work. Hubby got home before me and when I pulled up he had a warning. “It looks like Los Angeles in there!” Those chickens had kicked up so much dust I’m surprised they could breath!

Mental note, put snacks in a pan next time!

 

 

The Garden Feast

garden-free-ranging

I was pulling out the last of the carrots in the garden and decided to let the girls in to free range and snack on all the left overs. Tiny carrots, beet greens, small malformed cucumbers and zucchini and of course, lots of weeds that I just never got the energy to pull. They had a ball!

Of course, like most days, some of the girls had to make the day a challenge. One buff girl sat right by me waiting for me to dig. Before I could pull a carrot out she’d dive in the hole and attack worms, bugs or any other interesting thing she could find. When I tried to stop her before she got to the carrot, she’d grab me by my gardening gloves!

One of the Australorps decided she’d rather be outside the garden gate and took flight! Unfortunately she got stuck in the plum tree she landed in and started squawking so loud, even the neighbors chickens stopped and stared up in the tree! This was the first time I ever saw every hen quiet, stopped and staring all in the same direction! It made me laugh. The silence finally broke when my hubby said….”so….are you going to rescue your chicken or what?”

So the chicken was saved out of the tree, everyone got a great meal and EVERY chicken, except for one, laid an egg the following morning.

It just goes to show you, happy free ranging chickens lay lots of yummy eggs!

You can watch the hens free ranging in the garden on their YouTube Channel:

And fighting for carrots: