The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Winter chicken care

Snowy garden

Our first truly cold spell of the winter hit this weekend, with two inches of fluffy snow and daytime highs below freezing. Saturday night it dropped to 7 degrees and I was worried about our outside critters.

Chickens in the snowTo my surprise, everyone carried on as usual. In fact, we harvested 10 eggs from our 14-hen flock --- not bad for girls who've spent the day freezing their toes outside!

Winter chicken care is pretty basic, actually. You want your chickens to be dry and draft-free (both of which are far more important than warm), to have plenty of thawed drinking water and food, and to enjoy light in the coop during part of the night to ensure regular egg harvests. Do all of that and your hens will ignore the fact they originated in the tropics and carry through quite well down to 0 degrees and lower.

Now, if I could just train myself not to worry when the mercury plummets, then we'd be all set....

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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