During our first winter with chickens, I regularly took readings outside on the coldest days. One morning it was -27° F! Concerned for our hens, I trotted through the icy air to their unheated, uninsulated coop and took a reading inside. -20° F! I was scared for our hens’ safety.
Strong steps, sturdy steps, big steps in the snow! Strong steps, sturdy steps, big steps in the snow! Whenever the kiddo and I head out into the snow, even around the yard just to check the chickens or the mailbox, I have taken up chanting and singing those silly words.
It is very important to keep your chickens entertained, because, well, bored chickens can become all out blood-thirsty maniacs. I mean it.
For chickens, the best entertainment is pecking any and everything around them, including each other. Chicken on chicken violence really isn’t pretty and needs to be managed to reduce risk of injury. And injuries can lead to death! Emotional attachments aside, if one of our hens died prematurely we’d be losing a fairly significant investment. We had to feed them for about 4-6 months before they started actually laying eggs, and 4-6 months of chicken feed isn’t cheap.
And even if a chicken doesn’t get ruthlessly murdered by its companions, all that pecking can be stressful, and a stressed out chicken isn’t a healthy chicken, and an unhealthy chicken doesn’t lay as well as a healthy chicken. Thus happy chickens = plentiful fried egg breakfasts.
So the solution is obvious, they just need something more interesting to peck than each other. Read on for some of our best ideas.