Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Chickens in the Snow

Let's pretend it's not May as I post this--in March of this year we had snow! I grew up in Alaska, so this won't seem very special, however in our area it is a rarity--especially in March! In our area it never really gets cold enough to be a serious problem for the chickens, nor does any snow stay long.

In colder climates, folks have to mind their flocks more carefully, since chickens can get frostbit combs, wattles, and even feet. Some breeds are more cold tolerant than others, such as the light brahmas and the buff orpingtons.

That said, our birds do feel the dip in temperature, and we tend to provide additional heat at night, as well as using old wool blankets to try to cover the windows and gaps in the coop--along with straw! Expect your hens to slow or stop laying eggs during cold weather as most of their energy goes into maintaining their body warmth. Extra protein during this time can be helpful.

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