Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Happy Hatch Day! 6 months old!

Well, I just got back from seeing the chickens this morning and getting an egg before it froze. Yay! It is a whole 15° outside, sunny and windy where I'm living now.  It wouldn't be so bad but the humidity makes the cold even colder and you add the wind on top of that and its super bitey cold! We've been getting a lot of eggs lately, which is really great!  Most days we get about 3 or 4! I would think more of the bantam hens would be laying, but I think we only have one that is at the moment.  I guess when they are ready they will.  We are not in any hurry to be overwhelmed with eggs!  Currently we can keep up with the eggs that we get, thank you weekends and egg whites! We only eat a few eggs with a bunch of egg whites and then we cook up the yolks to give to the chickens.  That way they can get some extra fat in their diet so they keep warmer during this cold winter.  Here's what we did over the weekend.
I realized that boiling the yolks just like you do boiled eggs works way better than breaking them all up in a skillet, its a lot cleaner!

With the temperatures getting so cold we had to go and get a heated waterer.  I really hate this one, but it keeps the water from freezing, so it will work during the winter.
For a while it was leaking and getting the shavings all wet and that is not good for the chickens or the coop.  I later realized that maybe the spout you can fill the unit up with at the bottom of the base wasn't all the way on, so I think that solved the problem.  As you can see I sacrificed one of my turkey pans from Thanksgiving to prevent everything from getting wet.  It worked pretty well! Because we wanted the chickens to stay warm during the winter we decided to insulate the coop!
For the ceiling we used regular house insulation that came in rolls and wrapped it through the raftors and then we got some ape tape (the black strips you see up there) and used that to drape it the other way, so its double insulated on the ceiling.  On the windows we used foam insulation and cut it to size.  In the pic above you see the triangles of window peeking through, that was my cutting mistake...haha!  But it still works! :)  In the picture below on the bottom left of the window you can see that some of the chickens are already pecking at it...Argh!
 And the window in the door...
We all played around before it snowed, so here they are the day after hatchday.

 I can't believe how big the combs are on these leghorns...
Cute 'lil red...

We also had a fight in the yard a few weeks ago.  I didn't see it, but when I went to put the chickens away for the night I saw the aftermath.  I think that maybe Parker lost, he was on the floor resting and had lots of blood on his comb.  One of his eyes wasn't open either.  He is since healing, sort of, I think.  His eye is open, so that is good.  Here is a few days after the fight.
Here is Basil, he didn't fare so well either.
It looks like he might be getting pecked on too, you can see the somewhat bald spot behind his head...
I think some of them are getting frostbite too, so I imagine there might be some of that in there too. I don't know what to do about it though!  We have never dealt with frostbite before!  So we insulated the coop, I put 2 heat lamps out there, I don't let them out especially with the temperatures as low as they are and with snow on the ground.  So they are all cooped up and probably going crazy!  (See what I did there with the "cooped up"?  bwah ha ha! Sorry, couldn't resist.)  Anyway, I just don't know what to do about the frostbite.  I've read on chicken sites to put petroleum jelly on their combs, but I seriously doubt they are going to let me do that.  Especially the roosters, who I don't touch very much.  I know it is something we need to stop right away, but I am just so lost and frustrated about it!  When I went outside to see them a little bit ago, I gave them some bread and scratch, which they enjoyed.  I've also been putting electrolytes in their water.  We have the two heat lamps going but I could still see mine and their breath in the air...anyone have any ideas?  

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