This fall started out quite warm with sunny, balmy temperatures stretching into mid-November. However, since this is a La Niña year, we've been having predictions of an extremely cold winter and we saw some of it this last week.
The Monday before Thanksgiving we got enough snow to put the city of Seattle into a tailspin. My husband was fortunate enough to get out of downtown on a less travelled bus route extending his commute only by a half hour or so. Others weren't so lucky - it took his oncologist 7 hours to get home that night. The rest of the week we saw temperatures down into the teens with highs in the mid-twenties, which is very unusual around these parts.
Since our chicken coop is fairly well closed up, with plexiglass on the biggest of the "windows", I wasn't too worried about the chickens. I could always cover up the other windows and pull up the ramp to really seal them in. They've been putting on a lot of feathers over the last few weeks, and I was really only concerned about the smallest one, Chloe, who isn't packing as much fluff as the other girls. I made sure there was extra bedding in the coop to snuggle up in if she wanted to, but I think they really just huddled together on the roost at night.
The biggest issue, however, was keeping their water supply liquid. Since I didn't have a solution at hand, I ended up replacing their water several times a day. Their main water tank froze up into a solid tube of ice, so they relied on the water bowl I supplied them. Now that the temperatures are back up into the normal range, it's business as usual, but I will be getting a heated dog bowl to use for the next time it's that cold, just to make sure they have ample water.
In spite of all the cold, snow and craziness, Chloe managed to start laying. She really likes hanging out in the nesting box and Roxy has been indulging her own broodiness by sitting on both their eggs. Alas, Sarah, the big white hen, spends more time eating and less time laying. She hasn't laid an egg since we first got her back in mid-September.
All in all, the chickens did fine. They didn't spend much time down in the run when the wind blew a bunch of snow down there. But, once I cleaned out the snow, they were back down in the run, digging and bagawking and searching for snacks of the buggy kind. I froze my tail off with all the oversight, but I'll be prepared for the next cold snap.
Do you have chickens? If so, how do they fare during cold weather? Do you have a heat lamp or other set up to keep them comfy?
For a tour of my chicken coop and an introduction to the girls, you can check out this video here.