Our chickens, family photo (Girly is missing from photo, she had to go lay an egg)
I haven’t told you lately how much I love our chickens. But I do. They are doing wonderfully and I’m still grateful daily for the eggs they share with us and the extra fun that they add to our lives.
First I’ll give you a broody chicken update. Marmalade was broody for what seemed like forever. She just decided to get out of her funk this past week and I first told you about her broodiness September 21. We’re talking at least a month and a half of “I’m going to hatch these eggs, don’t touch me,” business. We did as many of you recommended and just left her alone. I took out the golf balls so I wouldn’t encourage her. My husband physically pulled her out of the nesting box every day when we’d let the chickens out and she’d poop (they hold it in when they are broody, it’s not good) and then she’d run around with the other chickens. I’m happy to report that she’s joined the flock again and doesn’t seem to be broody anymore! Let’s hope it stays that way.
Egg production is down. Our egg production started to decline when the broody chicken started hogging the nesting box. We went from having 4-5 eggs a day to having 2-3 with the broody chicken. Then the weather started cooling off and the days got shorter and we are getting about two eggs a day between our five chickens. We aren’t getting anxious about it – I’m grateful for any eggs we get and I think I read that egg production decreases in the winter – is this true?
We have been physically putting the chickens inside the hen house at night. Ever since we got our chickens, three of them have opted to sleep outside. But we got them in June – so it was warm. We don’t want them getting cold and getting sick (I hear this happens!) so we’ve been physically putting the chickens in the hen house at night. We are hoping they figure out on their own soon that they need to go into the henhouse at night to stay warm.
The coop is standing strong! I love our coop. We have never had problems with it being stinky (my biggest worry!) and we’ve been adding leaves from the yard into the coop to enhance the compost and for them to play with. They love sending them all around with their feet. One day I will do a post on how to build the coop – hopefully before spring. Every couple of months we scoop out a lot of the compost in the bottom of the coop and add it to a big compost pile (we also have a little composter behind the coop – you can kind of see it in the top right corner of the coop photo). We add new pine shavings weekly to keep it fresh.
This morning we played outside for awhile and I took some chicken photos for you. They won’t stand still and I can’t bribe them like I do my children, but I did get a few good photos so you can see how they are doing. Ignore the messy yard. See how they’ve grown by comparing the photos when we first brought them home.
Princess Lay-a-n-egg, the diva of the flock
She is a Buff Orpington, I have decided I like this variety of chicken. No reason, but she is pretty.
Marmalade, a.k.a. Miss Broody, out and about.
It’s hard to tell by the photo, but I think she did lose some weight during her broody stint. But not enough to cause concern.
Girly is technically my son’s chicken, he decided this when we brought her home. He named her. Every time we get an egg, he’s positive it’s from Girly. He kind of worships her. He gives her most of the worms he finds. I think she’s one of the prettiest of all our chickens and I love her feathered feet. She’s also the craziest – she runs faster than any of them! Good luck getting a photo of her! Girly is a Partridge Cochin.
The rain has started here in the Northwest and we won’t likely get a chance to dry out until spring. The silver lining is it’s good worm weather and the kids love finding worms for their chickens. Here Dad helps lift some big rocks to find worms
If you’re feeling guilty about raking leaves, just go play in them. Then they serve a purpose and you intentionally are leaving them in the yard, right? Yep, I think so.
Click to enlarge - Go jump in a pile of leaves. It’s good for you.
SHARE YOUR ADVICE - I have a few questions for you Northwest chicken owners.
Do you use a heat lamp in the winter? Or lights to keep egg production up?
Do you use a heated water dispenser?
We My husband has been filling it with warm water once a day to keep it from freezing.
Do you have other tips for keeping the coop in tip top shape all winter?
Are you thinking about getting chickens? What questions do you have? I’d love to help answer them or maybe some of our chicken experts can chime in and help!
- Building Chicken Coops For Dummies – $11.79 (reg. $19.99)
- Chicken Coops: 45 Building Ideas for Housing Your Flock – $13.30 (reg. $19.95)
- The Joy of Keeping Chickens: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Poultry for Fun or Profit (The Joy of Series) – $10.17! *price drop*
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 3rd Edition – $13.30