Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Chickens Surviving the Winter Chill

Chickens are pretty well insulated, especially after growing their winter coat following their molt. They seem to love the frozen weather when I let them out for exercise during the day. It's been down to about 20 F so far, but no frozen combs to report. At night they snuggle together on the roost to stay cozy. I've been feeding them a little extra grain in the late afternoon . . . it keeps their little furnaces purring right along.

The layers have been providing an average of a dozen eggs a day, not as many as earlier in the year, but still plenty for my use and enough extra's to share.

In another month or so, the hatcheries will begin shipping baby chicks out to excited people everywhere. Making the decision about what to order is by far the biggest dilemma . . . after years of ordering I still change my mind a half dozen times. If you're planning to order baby chicks this Spring, try to let the usefullness of the breed dictate what you order. All the hatchery websites and catalogs give out a lot of facts about the breeds and it all boils down to whether you're raising chickens purely for eggs, for meat only, or as an exotic pet.

I guess the best solution is to look at the adult birds of each breed and pick the ones you like the most. After 20 years or so you'll have had an opportunity to experience raising many of the available breeds. I'm glad I'm not the only one who still looks at a hatchery catalog with the mind-set of a kid in a candy store. There's always next year for the breed you decided to pass on this time.

Have you figured out your choices for this Spring yet? If you've been bitten by this crazy addiction, bet you're at least thinking about it, if not, then you'll likely go through this entire year without experiencing "the best day ever, bar none".

No comments:

Post a Comment