This winter, like last winter, is an odd one. Last year, although we had cold weather we didn’t have much snow. This year we’ve gotten snow but for the past few days the temps have been in the 50s. If you lived up in these parts, you’d have seen many New Hampshire residents walking around in short sleeves (because that’s how we roll in the Northeast.)
But then the local forecast is for a cold front to hit us tomorrow from Canada. The front is expected to bring snow all day and temps that will hover in the teens for the next few days.
I know that these swings in temperature (not to mention all the cold dampness that comes from melting snow) have played havoc with my achy joints. There are days, I barely emerge from my electric blankets (oh, and I am so not kidding on that one.) I’ve got to wonder, how are these temperature swings affecting the hens? I know that our egg production is waaaay down (even from last winter) and yesterday when I was at the coop inspecting the flock, I noticed that a few of the girls are being pecked and have significant feather damage.
Co-incidentally, I’ve also been contacted by a few people who have noticed unusual pecking in their flock this winter. Apparently we are not alone in this behavior.
Is the lack of eggs and pecking due to the stress from swinging temperatures (and perhaps age, admittedly our flock is getting older) or is it simply from it being mid-winter (with all the boredom and lack of light that that entails)? I couldn’t tell you.
All I can tell you is that things are different from last winter.
How about you? Are you noticing any difference in the behavior of your flock this winter?