How we keep the Runoia chickens happy in the snow.
You may be wondering what on earth the Camp Runoia chickens are up to during all of this snow in Maine. It is fun and easy to have the chickens in our Runoia farm program during the summer, the winter takes a bit more planning.
The hens are well cared for and we thought that we would share some of our best tips for keeping the flock safe, warm and laying all winter long. This latest nor’easter dumped 2 feet of snow on the coop and was certainly a test of our chicken farmer resources. Typically when the weather is fine the flock free ranges and like to be out and about but once there is snow on the ground they stay in their covered pen attached to the coop.
The hens have an insulated coop and are hardy breeds so they don’t mind the cold too much. They tend to stay inside if it is very cold. They hate their feet in the snow so we put down lots of straw and shavings to help them keep their toes warm
A heated water bucket is essential they drink a lot even when it is cold and we have to keep it clean and unfrozen.
Grain is kept filled up as they eat much more food in the cold months as there is little available to supplement. They love tasty, high protein treats which help them to stay warm, dried mealworms look a little gross but they get eaten up quickly.
The girls have surprisingly been laying a lot this winter even though we choose to not put a light in the coop. Hens typically need around 12 hours of daylight in order to stay in a laying cycle. That is tough up here in Maine with the short days and usually they stop laying for a couple of months. Oyster shells keep the eggs coming and stop weak shells forming when there is no dirt to peck at outside.
All in all they don’t seem too bothered by the snow and cold but will be excited to get out free ranging in the Spring.
Need more info about chicken care check out our Pinterest board – ‘Runoia’s backyard chickens’ keeping hens is easier and more fun than you think!