Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Winter Ready: Step 1

They are blissfully unaware what is about to befall them.

Hello Pookie, May I take your photo.
They run in the garden without a care.

Enjoy this while you can my ladies!
The Husband and I, however, are very aware of what is to come.

Look pretty for the camera ladies!
Freezing nights, brutal winds, and snow. Yep, Minnesota winter is on the horizon. -brrrr-

Yes Jade, I'm still taking photos. 
And unlike what we've read in a recent StarTribune article about people abandoning their chickens as winter approaches -WHAT??- the Husband and I have begun winter preparations for the care of our little flock - which we fully intend to keep and care for!

HEY! What do you mean just ignore her and maybe she'll just go away??
Everything we've read indicates that chickens that are winter hardy, which ours are, do not need a heated coop. In fact heating the coop can be a bad idea. Winter hardy chickens should acclimate to cold weather.

I cannot begin to tell you how nervous this makes us! But we are going to trust the experts.

What chickens do need is a draft free coop, plenty of fresh water, and extra food as they expend extra calories staying warm.

So our first order of business...how to keep the water from freezing!

To the Google!!

We found a widely used method of keeping water from freezing is to run power to the coop (gotta love the man who will climb under the coop to run power to keep water thawed for your chickens!!)...

attach to a light socket...

we set ours on a ceramic tile...insert a 60 watt light bulb...

set a cinder block over the socket...

cover with a terra cotta pot base...

set waterer inside pot base...turn the light on and VOILA! Just enough heat to keep the water from freezing. We hope! Again, we're counting on the experts here.

Step one of winterizing the coop...done! Whoop whoop!!

Now to collect a handful of these and plan step two.


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