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Snow Daze 2009

10 December 2009

Cate asked in the comments of the last post how the chickens were doing in the cold. Well, let me tell you — it got colder faster than I thought it would! Last Tuesday (a week+ ago), it was so warm I took off my coat when I took Zephyr for her walk. By last Thursday, the chicken water contraption had frozen. I knew there were heated ones out there, but didn’t think we’d require that until the depths of winter (say, January). But here Trixie and I were, on the 3rd of December, heading out during snow flurries to see if our local farm and ranch supplier carried a “heated poultry fount.”


(They did! And at a much better price than anywhere online, too.)

We got it set up, and things were hunky dory for a few days. Then came the blizzard of ’09. Not only were we going to get SNOW (and boy, did we get snow!)…

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…but temps were going to dip below freezing, below 10F, even below 0F. And one of our local chicken experts had casually mentioned in passing to the Consort this summer that chickens are fine until about 10F, at which point you need a heat lamp. Ten degrees. Hah — another issue we won’t have to deal with until January, right? Nope. So for the past few days the chickens have been staying in their coop, most of the day with their door to the run shut (because of wind and cold), their only source of “light” the one compact fluorescent bulb we’ve got in the garage.

Chilly chickens in a chilly coop
(Photo cropped to protect your sensibilities from their prolific product of poop.)

Lat night we set them up with the heat lamp, but I don’t want to keep it on all the time. Word on the chicken forums is that you don’t want them acclimated to warmer than average temps, because if you happen to have an electric outage, the chickens will DIE. (And we have survived a hawk attack, so no way in hell will we succumb to frozen chicken!)

I really want to get one of those min/max thermometers, so we can get an idea of how cold it gets in the garage on a typical night. But, since the Blizzard of ’09 had everyone instructed to stay inside during the Tuesday-Wednesday 24 hours of 14-in. snowfall and 45 mph winds…

Careful what you wish for!
This is the Consort digging us a pathway where the sidewalk ought to be.

…and the lack of adequate snow plowing, I haven’t gotten out to the hardware store yet. I put this humidity/temperature gauge we got with our humidifiers several years ago in the garage, but after a couple of hours outdoors, the poor thing had given up and could only tell me this:

What's the temp? "Lo"? "Lo"?! Of COURSE it's flippin' LOW!

But, no, Cate, the chickens will not be coming inside this winter, no matter how much Trixie would like them to. They have grown up to be excellent pooping machines, and I will have none of that in my house, thankyouverymuch.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Cateling permalink
    10 December 2009 8:45 pm

    Wow, you guys got a lot more snow than we did! Thanks for all the info about the chickens. I really was concerned about them. 🙂

  2. 11 December 2009 12:24 pm

    Our friends across the street left for Hawaii the other evening, leaving me in charge of checking on their two remaining old chickens. They had put a heating tape under the water fount, since it’s not one of the nifty ones you have. It’s been very cold here for days, though dry and sunny. I’m hoping this cold breaks soon, as has been predicted, since I don’t want to go over there and find the birds lifeless piles of fluff…

  3. 11 December 2009 12:28 pm

    Whoa. We’ve had some snow here too, but nothing like 14″!

    I just discovered recently that chickens don’t (usually) lay eggs in the winter. When will they start laying again? March? April?

  4. 14 December 2009 12:58 pm

    Send some our way, would you? I’m ready for a little powder over here.

  5. 15 December 2009 8:18 am

    Aw, it’s snowing in here! Well, um, clearly.
    I cannot quite believe that accululation. Gives me heart palpatations.

  6. Cateling permalink
    15 December 2009 1:57 pm

    Poor chickie-sicles! Are you SURE they can’t come in the house, mom??

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