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Monday, November 22, 2010

Winterizing the Coop

As the description of our blog implies, in many ways, we are learners in the whole homesteading thing. Chickens have always been in our plans; we've definitely experienced trials and joys since getting them, and we continue to need more assistance in keeping them healthy and happy by more experienced chicken owners.

We've done our research concerning winterizing our coop. Because we only have 3 chickens (2 of which are Bantams) living in a coop built for 12-15 chickens, we have to be extra vigilant in our efforts to keep our feathery friends warm and cozy this winter. We're hoping for additional words of advice, comfort, or just plain old suggestions from you, our readers.

So, far...we have:

1. Put in an electric heater which will turn on automatically if the weather drops below 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Initially, we didn't want to have to utilize electricity for our little poultry operation, but seeing as how we have 3 lone chickens left (all of whom have been exposed to Marek's), we feel it's probably better safe than sorry. After all, there are not enough of them to keep each other warm.

2. We've surrounded the base of our coop with hay bales for extra insulation.

3. We've attached a tarp to 1/4 of the run netting. We're hoping that this may keep some snow out of the run in case our chickens wanted to run around a bit.

4. We've placed a flock block inside the coop in an effort to give the chickens extra nutrients. We've also been feeding them yogurt with Pedialite a few times a week.

What else can we do to have healthy chickens this winter? Their happiness, comfort and well-being are our primary concerns and reasons for having our own backyard chickens.

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