Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cluck and Quack Happenings: Snowbirds!

Any ideas on what made these prints on our driveway? Some ferocious 4-toed beast? OK, you got me! It's chickens! I kinda thought you would know. ::wink:: They do look a little dinosaur-ish though, right?

Last year our flock wouldn't venture far into the snow. It was new and strange and, well, cold, so they stuck close to the coop and run. Sometimes I don't blame them staying cooped up. Have you seen how high snow can get in our neck of the woods? Ugh! Anyway...This year they're older and wiser, having endured a long, snowy Maine winter last season. They're old "feathers" at this! 

But they're still not crazy about the snow. Look at Speckles on the wire fence. HER feet weren't touching snow if she could help it!

Some of the hens didn't mind it so much. They weren't clucking happily, but after a week of bitterly cold temperatures getting out was so worth the chilly feet to be in the bright sunshine. I think they were hoping for some juicy bugs or at least some green grass for their troubles though. April?

Meanwhile, the ducks had waddled off to swimming and explore in the icy brook water. Brrr! Watching them bathe is quite fun. They'll duck their head under, scooping water over and down their backs repeatedly, and then it's dunking for plants. Just like the chickens, they're not finding many nibbles right now.

But we're brainstorming a solution for the grub challenge...

Oh, and did you notice that one of our ducks is a soft, pale yellow? That's Olive! She's been dealing with a respiratory infection for a few months and has been on 2 rounds of antibiotics. With some on-line research we found out that antibiotics during molting can cause the new feathers to take on a yellow hue. Looks like we'll have a yellow Pekin until molt next early winter! At least I can finally tell them apart! ::grin::

And we're averaging just over one chicken egg per day! With the shorter daylight hours, I'm not surprised. Did you know that chickens need about 14 hours+ of daylight for optimal laying? Lots of people think it's the cold, but it's really the short days that slow egg production. I'm just happy to get anything considering they had stopped laying from early September to mid-December for molting! It's awesome to see those eggs in the frig again!


  1. We let our hens in around 4:45 and turn a light on for them until about 8:30. We let them out in the morning by 8:00. That isn't anything near what they need. I am thinking I might need to learn to stretch it to 9:30. But, who wants to go out to the coop and turn the light off at that time. :)

    What kind of hens do you have? There are some in the pictures which are beautiful. Never seen them before.

    1. Our chickens are mixed. Dad was Ameraucana with the ear muffs and beard, but the Moms were different. Now, I'm guessing, but Speckles looks like a White-laced Wynadotte. We also have an all black which may be part Cochin. Her feathers are fluffier and softer than the others (and her roo brother had the feathers on his legs). We have 2 orange hens, probably Buff Barred Rocks, and 2 hens that look like Ameraucanas. Ironically, Ameraucanas are supposed to lay the tinted Easter eggs and not one of our hens lays blue or green eggs.

    2. I would recommend turning light on early in the morning rather than keep it on later at night if you can :) Just imagine the poor biddies...relaxing, having a good time..then POOF total darkness! If they arent on the roost it can be difficult and possible dangerous for them to find it! We have our on a timer that comes on at 330 am right now (I am in NH) and shuts off at about 7 am. You can buy an actual time that replaces the light switch or if it is a plugged buld, you can get one that plugs right into an outlet.
      They do go in at about 430 pm, and getting a bit later every day...averaging 8-9 eggs a day all winter from our 11 layers...which are not daily layers to begin with so I am happy with the results!

  2. I love that your chickens will even attempt to go outside in the snow! I've opened my coop door and they look at me like "You want me to do WHAT?" I've even gone so far as shoveling a path out for them so they can see there is grass somewhere underneath. They politely shake their heads and say "No thank you, we will wait to run around until spring." Ah, chickens.

    Cute pictures!

  3. Chickens always crack me up :) I would love to have you share this tomorrow on the Winter on the HomeAcre Hop!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this on the Winter on the HomeAcre Hop! I love the photos :) And you yellow duck looks so buttery and sweet!

  4. We created a covered area out of the snow, about 4' x 8', for the goat and the pig (all the animals live together) and the chickens LOVE it! It's straw over dirt and unless the snow really blows it stays pretty dry. I rake the straw out into our small barnyard periodically and add more. We're getting a few more eggs now - from 13 ladies I get 5 or 8 per day. Happy with that!

  5. I have to shovel the snow out of the way for most of my chickens before they'll venture out, but a few will brave the white stuff for their favorite spot under the deck!

    Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick


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