The final frontier for chickeneers. Greater challenges keeping a steady supply of fresh water available. Fewer eggs, as your chickens require their physical resources to generate body heat. Having to check the nests more often, so as to not lose the eggs you are getting to freezing. To heat or not to heat? Frostbite, desperately hungry predators, the tail end of molting.
And poopsicles. On the one hand, keeping the coop clean in winter is a pain, because the cold temps make it a less-pleasant task. On the other hand, one needn’t do it quite so frequently (so say we all) because frozen poo don’t stink. On the other other hand, when you do clean, the accumulation of poop presents unique challenges.
See, when chicken poop is left for a few days, it tends to accumulate in clumps, which freeze into large frozen poo pancakes, the size of a fried egg, ironically. And those frozen-solid poo pucks do not pass through the chicken wire that tops my poop pit. At the moment, the top of the poop pit is covered in in icy poo patties. I’ll have to wait for a thaw to get them into the pit.
And that’s the poop that can be moved at all. In clumps all along the lip of the poop pit are poops frozen as they dropped, adhered to the wood as though with super glue. They will no be move. They, too, wait for warmer weather to reach their final destination.
All this is true for me because I use sand in my coop, rather than shavings. Those of you employing the deep litter method are probably laughing at me right now, but I still love sand. And, no, it doesn’t freeze into concrete in cold weather, not unless it gets wet. It’s just as easy to work with as it is in warm weather.
It has been cold. The end, thanks be to The Great Chicken, is near. We have another night in the single digits tonight, when the girls will enjoy the heat lamps again.
(Side note: I’m not sure about this heat lamp at night business. I looked in on them at 5:30 last evening, when they should have been well settled and asleep, and they were all unroosted and partying. Woohoo, we got light! Steady, girls…)
It’s a balmy 21F at the moment, and the girls are making the most of it, sun and dust bathing under their favourite pine tree:
Tomorrow will be challenging, but Tuesday is to be into the 40s, with a low of 40 Tuesday night. I have a feeling there will be much celebration, as the girls scratch around for grass and bugs.
And I? I will be pushing thawed poo through chicken wire. Oh, it’s a glamourous life, gentle reader…