Red Wicket Market Farm is a small farm 25 minutes from downtown Columbus, Ohio, near Slate Run Metropark. Breeding Black Copper and Blue Copper Marans to the Standard of Perfection.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Winter Chicken Chores

Keeping chickens is so much easier in the summer. Most days, I just need to go out in the morning and open their door to let them out to pasture. Then in the evening, right around dusk, I go back out and they've all put themselves to bed on their perches. I just need to gather any eggs that were laid after my morning trip and shut them in for the night.

We use feed hopper that holds 250 pounds of feed, so we buy feed in bulk and don't have to feed the hens every day (chickens are very good at self-regulating their feed intake, unlike dogs or horses or... me). We also have a pasture waterer, which is a 50-gallon drum with a float on it, so that the water is always replenished and we only have to give water to the hens every other week or so.

But in the winter...

Here is what my pasture waterer has looked like since it started snowing. Looks like it's out of commission until spring. Time to haul water from the house. We have some hanging waterers that hold 6 gallons each. I go out at least twice a day and take fresh water to the hens. When it's really cold, I go three times a day and remove the frozen waterer and leave a fresh one.

Also in the summer, I rarely need to clean the hen house. Since the hens are outside from dawn to dusk, the hen house stays nice and clean. In the winter, it has to be cleaned out daily because the hens are spending a lot of time inside. Ick.

So, next time we're knee deep in snow, think of me trudging down to the hen house carrying water. And dreaming of spring.