Sunday, January 11, 2009

Winter Update

The winter has been snowy and cold. The chickens are still in their old coop. We currently have one rooster and twelve hens (three Americana and nine Pearl White Leghorns). The rooster (the kids call him "Bill") is a Pearl White Leghorn with a big single comb - we have had a couple of cold nights, and he has gotten some frostbite.

We were getting four eggs per day (all white - no eggs from the Americanas). I put a light in the coop on a timer. I am giving them a couple hours of light in the morning and several hours in the afternoon/evening. Within a few days, production rose 50% to six eggs per day (including 1-2 blue eggs from the Americanas).

The chickens don't seem to mind the cold very much. If it is cold, they just fluff out their feathers and sleep with their heads under their wings (except for the rooster, who insists on keeping watch on everything). The snow is a different story - they do not like to walk on the snow. If one of them gets startled out of the coop, she flies as far as she can (about 15 feet), lands in the snow, and stands their looking confused. Eventually she takes off back toward the coop door where she lands in a cloud of dust.