Thanksgiving is in just two weeks and most of the leaves have fallen from the trees. We've begun sizing up the turkey pen and trying to do determine which one will be joining us at the table for Thanksgiving....as our special guest...
Our egg production has dropped way down so we've added a small light and automatic timer to our egg laying house when the time changed. It's set to come on at 5 PM and go off around 9 PM. This little bit of added light is already having a positive effect on the girls. They are slowly beginning to lay more eggs. If your ladies have stopped laying we highly recommend you try this little trick to see if it will help your flock. Since there are so few eggs this time of year, this is also when we give our flock a dewormer, usually Safeguard.
While I know it can be extremely tempting and seems intuitive to add a heat source to the coop, especially during the coldest winter days, it can actually be very harmful and cause respiratory issues. Instead, we make sure to feed a bit of cracked corn before bedtime and use the deep layer method used by ol' timers for many hears to provide a little extra heat to the coop that won't be harmful. Digestion of the cracked corn during the night will also help to keep birds warmer at night plus I think it helps give them a little extra fat as protection. We also monitor the windows in our coops during the evening lock up and morning release. If we see any sign of condensation, its a clear signal that there isn't enough ventilation and we need to increase air flow. A damp environment in winter can also cause respiratory issues.
Once the temps drop below freezing, we will also start monitoring the combs on our breeds that have larger ones. Big combs and cold temps is a recipe for frostbite. A little Vaseline rubbed on their combs before bed will usually do the trick.
Well, the sun is beginning to rise so it's time to put on the muck boots and start letting the birds out from their coops to greet the day. Sleep is for the weak...
Matt was raised in the Amish country of Central Pennsylvania and was always surrounded by animals. He was member of 4-H and was ranked nationally as an equestrian but also raised chickens, turkeys, sheep and rabbits.