Life with Chickenz, S1 E6 “Winter Is Coming…”

Life has been pretty good here in Cheeseheadland, though a frost two weeks ago did take out our second crop of tomatoes.

The ladies are coming into their full adult weight, and a pecking order has been established–with Willow at the top, and Prissy at the bottom. We should be getting eggs in a few weeks, but winter is coming, and the days are getting shorter.

Hubby added some upgrades to the coop this week.

Electricity:

Timer for the light and plug for the water heater.

And from our now-defunct refrigerator, a 20-watt bulb to run in the evenings, in the hope of fooling them into thinking the days aren’t really getting shorter:

Low-watt bulb

Hubby also installed groundbreaker–fiberglass-reinforced plastic used in new-home construction to protect foundation insulation. This has a two-fold purpose–to keep the ladies from shoving sand out of their run, and to act as a wind-break, since there is no protection from the west wind.

Hubby installing groundbreaker.

We bought a bale of hay from our neighbors up the road (which turned out to have quite a bit of alfalfa, to the delight of the ladies) to use in the nest boxes. From the Backyard Chickens forums, Hubby discovered that placing a golf ball in the nest box shows them where to lay.

Nest boxes are ready to go!

So now we are waiting. Their feed is a mix of grower mash and layer crumbles from Pfeiffer’s feed mill up the road, and we give them cracked corn, sunflower seeds, and oats (mixed myself) and tomatoes and other things that didn’t make it from the garden as treats.

Here are the ladies in their favorite hangout in the yard: under the overturned aluminum fishing boat.

The last thing we plan to do is make visquine panels for the run to keep the wind and snow out, so that they are not confined to the henhouse all winter long.

So, winter is coming, and we are getting ready for it. In the meantime, it’s a beautiful sunny fall day here in Wisconsin.

A view of the Kettle Moraine (northern unit)

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