Tag Archives: chicken winter care

Lesson 1229 – Guess what?

Guess what?

16573728709_b5b805fa9a_o(1)

Chicken Snow Butt.

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

1 Comment

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicken fun, Life Lessons, Mama Hen, Personal, Teaching kids, The Family

Lesson 1226 – Here comes the sun

DSC09179 (Modified)

This weekend we let the chickens out. There wasn’t much space for them to walk around (the snow is still quite high in our backyard and the only real walking area is the shoveled path to the hen house), but they took full advantage of the tiny bit of freedom and change of scenery.

Once the girls got outside, they stretched their legs and pecked at the grain around the coop that had frozen long ago into the ice. They clucked, they spread their wings, and they turned their faces to the sun.

By evening, the entire flock was happy to go back inside the coop to roost – worn out by the exercise and ready for a rest. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicken fun, Life Lessons, Mama Hen, Personal, Teaching kids, The Family

Lesson 1223 – Chickens in towns? Heck yes!

It has come to my attention that a group in Deltona, Florida has taken a portion of one of my blog posts regarding a solitary situation with a smelly coop and they are using it to support their arguments for not allowing backyard chicken flocks in their town due to smell.

Utter hogwash. I write for Backyard Poultry Magazine, Mother Earth News, Grit, and I hold chicken workshops throughout New Hampshire. I am in complete support of towns (and in some cases, cities) allowing residents to maintain a backyard coop – definitely 100% in that court. It’s the reason I go around the state and teach people how to care for a backyard flock. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicken fun, Life Lessons, Mama Hen, Personal, Teaching kids, The Family

Lesson 1214 – Baby it’s cold outside

15917528104_6a9b9fb330_k

Boy this has been a tough winter. I’m hearing accounts from all over New England of people who are losing chickens.

In the winter, it’s common to lose some of the older or not quite as strong members of your flock. Last winter we lost 3 birds. They were alive and well one day, frozen solid the next. It’s a way for nature to ensure that the most fit will survive.

It happens, but you don’t have to like it.

As of yesterday, we haven’t lost any of our flock to the winter weather, but with continued snow and record low temperatures in the forecast, I fear, it’s only a matter of time. We do what we can for the flock and hope against hope (and Mother Nature) that we will all come out on the other side intact.

Some things you can do for your flock in the extreme cold: Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicken fun, Life Lessons, Mama Hen, Personal, Teaching kids, The Family

Lesson 1210 – Hold on, my lovelies

No controversy today, just chickens.

I’ve got bad knees (they’re not really bad, more like just a bit naughty) which means that when we have a significant amount of snow and ice in the yard, my husband is the one who goes out to the hen house to tend to the flock each morning. (We’ve found it’s a less expensive solution than going to the Emergency room for a knee sprain.)

I end up gazing longingly at my pretties from the safety of our living room while they look with cocked eye at my silhouette in the window – all of us waiting patiently for the warmth of spring to reunite.

Even our dog, Pippin is having a tough time. This is what is left of his dog run: Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under All things chickens, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicken fun, Life Lessons, Mama Hen, Personal, Teaching kids, The Family

Lesson 432 – Where we belong

Late last night, we found out that power was restored to our house. Oh callooh callay!

Because our town had made the decision to hold school the next day (much to the kids’ delight there has been no school Monday through Wednesday) we made the decision to pack up and move out then instead of at 5:30 the next morning.

The kids were a little upset, they had to be pulled away from a movie that had been set up on a projection screen for all to watch. They hadn’t finished the large cups of popcorn everyone viewing the movie had been given.

The kids were tired, out of sorts and they had finally had it up to here with disruption after disruption. It showed in the bickering in the car on the way home.

Brush your teeth, get into bed, I kept repeating when we got home, we’ll find your math book in the morning.

Today, the kids are at school. Some of them are wearing socks they’ve had on for days, some are in need of an extended hot shower. All had to take cold items in for lunches, apples, granola bars, even the last of the emergency poptarts.

But they are back where they belong, in a routine that feels familiar. A life that feels in control.

While they were away, I walked around the house assessing our home that we had to leave so quickly.

The Halloween decorations are still up but as the town has moved trick-or-treating out to this coming weekend, they will remain up at least for a few more days playing games with my mind – witches and skeletons in the snow.

Limbs in the yard will need to be gathered and chopped in preparation for the wood stove which we WILL be getting. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, All things local, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, New Hampshire, Personal, Project Chickens before the Eggs, The Family

Lesson 431 – what a chick does at a shelter

Hi there. We’re still at the shelter and while we’ve spent most of the day away doing errands and checking in on the flock, we still find ourselves here at night taking advantage of the heat. I don’t know how many of you have had the experience of staying in a shelter but I thought I’d share with you, what it is a chick does while staying in an emergency shelter.

First of all, a chick relaxes. The kids are safe, the animals are tucked away for the night, despite the storm’s fury, all is well. It really is. Time to take a deep breath.

A chick must also see to Holiday decorations. Several young members of different flocks are here and let’s face it, Halloween in a shelter is not the best place to  be.  So to be festive (and to continue being a mom, above all else) this is how a chick celebrates Halloween in a shelter.

After a very short time, this is how a chick keeps clean. There’s a trick, if you pick the very last shower on the left and press the spigot twice, you can get warm water.

And lastly, this is how a chick spends the time in a shelter. She has to be around to supervise the kids (no basketball near others’ cots please) and she has to keep an eye on where those young pullets and cockerels are but like the village that a shelter eventually becomes, everyone sort of takes care of each other. People are given rides, older people are given food first, and moms get to put up their feet in order to read the book they’ve been dying to start – an opportunity to rest their bodies before the arrival of the next crisis.

5 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, All things local, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, New Hampshire, Personal, Project Chickens before the Eggs, The Family

Lesson 430 – the other side of the storm

Most of you know that we live in New Hampshire and if you’ve paid any attention to the national (and, from what I hear, international) news you know that we got WHALLOPED this past weekend from a huge freakish October snow storm (and this on the heels of that hurricane just a few weeks ago.)

We ended up getting about 9 inches of snow, which is not really a big deal in January when the trees are bare and have slowly hardened in the winter cold, but it is a big deal when the leaves are still on the branches. And that’s the situation we faced going into the storm, only the maples had dropped their leaves, the rest of trees were in trouble.

I’ve lived in New Hampshire a long time and have never been through a storm quite like that one. Power lines up and down our street were sparking as the snow laden trees bowed down to brush them, leaves igniting.

I called 911 when we saw the electrical lines were lighting up and was put on hold.

Around 10:30 p.m. as we walked around the neighborhood we saw that a tree on our property was actually on fire.

I called 911 when we discovered the fire and was put on hold.

It certainly felt like end-times.

I had read predictions that the storm would be catastrophic.

They were right.

The resulting destruction is amazing. Wires are strewn across roads, limbs and full trees are down everywhere. We lost some grand old long-time standing beauties during this one. Such a shame.

In our town alone, 98% lost electricity. Here it is Tuesday morning and we still don’t have electricity at our house. The most current predictions are that we’ll get it back sometime on Friday or Saturday.

We don’t have a generator or a wood stove. We have a cold, drafty house with no water. (Trust me, we’re in discussions to change this.)

Even still, we’re fortunate. This is a photo of a limb that missed our henhouse by inches, you’ll be happy to know that all of our chickens came through the night unscathed.

too close for comfort

Nothing fell directly on our house and the tree fire sputtered out once the power lines went dead. Our dog; Pippin is safe, the kids are fine (even Emma who was diagnosed with croup the morning of the storm.) We’re inconvenienced but what are you going to do? Life happens. We’re spending nights at a community shelter and days between the cold house, the local library, and the shelter.

We’re all warm and safe and counting our blessings to be among the lucky ones.

8 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, All things local, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, New Hampshire, Personal, Project Chickens before the Eggs, The Family

Lesson 422 – Winter num-nums for the chickens – gag

I am starting to rethink the winter care for our chickens.

Until now, I’ve been telling people to include a little bit of suet in the chickens’ feed a few times each winter. My reasoning for this is that, even though it’s an animal product, the fat would do the birds good during the cold winter when they are burning more calories. (I suppose you could use peanut butter but the fear of having their beats glued shut from the paste frightens me.)

No one wants a fat chicken (unless you are going to slaughter it) but no one also wants a chicken that has starved during the cold months when the good fat and protein from insects is virtually non-existent.

I had always felt bad about this though. I had been taught to NOT give your chickens any meat at all (along with no onions or garlic), but I figured if we leave suet out for the outdoor birds that come to our feeder, we could give some of it to our chickens. It was sort of one of those “yeah, but…” decisions.

And then in one of my recent chicken workshops, some chicken owners told me that their chickens LOVE ham.

Well that’s a little weird. Didn’t that make them carnivores? A little cannibalistic? Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under All things chickens, All things local, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicken fun, New Hampshire, Personal, Project Chickens before the Eggs

Lesson 417 – Winding down for the season

It is amazing how a flock’s egg production drops so drastically in the fall (just as amazing at how it seems to pick up so quickly in the spring). Cold weather and dark days are a signal to the chickens to lay low, give their bodies a rest, recharge for the coming season.

We’ve gone from 19 eggs a day (from our roughly 30 laying bird flock which includes half a dozen bantams who are not daily layers to maybe 20 eggs total every other day. Nothing has changed in the diet, the birds are healthy, it’s all just nature slowing things down a bit.

I see this happening in our family, how we’ve changed from the quick, quick, cold tuna salad dinners served on the porch to the slow simmering beef stews that take time and leave you full and warm as you sit around the table, preferring to discuss the day rather than go away to the cold.

In the winter, I am always sluggish. I get up later (just can’t do it in the dark.) Our house is freezing so our bodies really feel the seasonal difference. We wear multiple sweaters in the house, wrap ourselves in blankets when we settle down to read a book or watch TV. When I write, I have to wear those Bob Cratchit gloves in an effort to keep my hands warm.

We slow down, we conserve energy, conserve heat. We regroup from the frenetic pace of summer followed by endless fall soccer games to the muffled quiet of cold. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under All things chickens, All things local, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicken fun, Life Lessons, New Hampshire, Personal, Project Chickens before the Eggs, The Family