It’s cold – 20 degrees F. this morning, and a windy 25 this afternoon. But, the hens are winter-hardy. It’s perfectly healthy for them to go outside, and you can see them on Hencam, trying to scratch a morsel out of the frozen earth and pecking at a bit of glittering ice.
What you can’t see are the hens in my new barn. Lulu, Snowball, Alma, Maizie, Edwina, Twinkydink and Buffy live there. They rarely go outside. Why this difference in behavior? Because the new barn is so cozy comfy, sunny and spacious. It has twice the floor space of the old barn and windows on all sides. There’s water and laying hen pellets and roosts and nesting boxes. In other words, why leave?
The hens in the old barn aren’t overcrowded. They don’t show any signs of stress. They don’t aggressively peck each other; they are healthy and laying eggs. But it’s a bit like living in a dorm room. Nice, but tight. The party girls, the white bantams, like to stay together and have elbow (wing? space) from the other chooks. You’ll see them outside the most.
The girls in the new barn have no reason to go out. Sometimes I think they have it too good in there. I feel like a mom. You kids need to get out in the fresh air I want to say. In answer, I can just imagine the girls whining do we have to?