We had a fabulous couple of days. Unfortunately, we got 6 inches of snow last night right after a sunny 63 degrees the day before. That’s Iowa for you!
During the coldest parts of the winter, our temperature dipped well below 20 degrees. We were able to bring our dogs in during these extreme cold days, however, my poor ladies stayed outside. Praise God my hubby built me an amazing coop that proved to hold up strong for my girls.
As you can tell from the image above, they have an enclosed area above ground and a run to get some fresh air below. I was concerned as above their enclosed area is actually an opening. I feared that it might get too cold and that my girls could end up with frostbite. However, I now feel that this opening was actually a good thing. I kept a heat lamp inside their enclosed area and feel that condensation was able to escape through this opening and actually prevent my girls from frostbitten toes, waddles, and combs. A couple of times I actually closed my girls in their enclosed area as they enjoyed staying out in the run. During those negative degree days, I again feared they would get frostbitten or even die. I learned quite quickly that I shouldn’t lock a bunch of girls in an enclosed area. Some of my ladies started to gang up on one of my Barred Rocks and pecked her head clean of feathers. I freaked and after a call to a farming friend she calmed me down and reminded me that these are just chickens and as much as I care for my girls, they can be, well… dumb! Ha! After that, I no longer locked them in and let them go in and out of there run as they pleased.
Before I bought my birds, I made sure to research their breeds. I purposely bought winter hardy breeds that were good layers and family friendly. The yellow ones below are Buff Orpingtons, The black and white girls are Barred Rocks and the beautiful black and golden ladies are Golden Laced Wyandottes. My absolute favorite! Oh how I would love to have a Golden Laced Wyandotte Rooster. So gorgeous!
This is Ethel. She leads the pecking order. As you can tell, she has only a speck of frostbite on her comb.
This is Margaret. Golden Laced Wyandottes generally have combs that stick to their heads. She is my special lady with a beautiful comb with only specks of frostbite.
This is poor Henrietta. Yup, the gals ganged up on her and pecked her head clean of feathers. I hope they grow back in.