It looks like the big snow storm of January, 2016 is going to hit south of here. That’s fine with us. I do have a bit of experience to share. This is what it looked like out our backdoor last year.
Scooter has heard the weather reports and he’s not taking any chances. He’s already hunkered down. His strategy is to find the brightest patch of sun. Unfortunately, we can’t all adopt his storm plan. Some of us have responsibilities.
You might think about packing your hens up and bringing them into the house.
Don’t. They’ll do just fine, as long as you provide them with a few essentials. I hope that your coop already has windows, good ventilation and enough floor space for each hen – at least 4 square feet minimum per bird. (For more about coop design criteria, read this FAQ.) If not, do the best you can, shovel out an area outside for them as soon as the storm clears, and plan on expanding the coop in the spring!
Whatever your coop is like, give it a thorough cleaning before the snow flies. This will reduce moisture in the air (which leads to respiratory disease) and will make it much healthier for the hens while stuck indoors. Fill the waterer and the feeder. The last thing to do before tucking them in before the storm is to give them something that will keep them busy.
Years ago I posted this photo – hang a cabbage for a rousing game of cabbage tetherball. This idea has made it’s way around the internet. I’m proud to say that I started the trend of indoor athletics for hens!
I was also an early proponent of feeding pumpkins to chickens. Any of the hard winter squash work just as well. Just in case the weather report is wrong and the storm swings up this way, I bought two spaghetti squash – it’s always good to be prepared.
I also like to put treats into suet feeders. Not suet! Too fatty. Today I put apple halves in the hanging feeder in the Big Barn.
Once you’ve set your hens up in a clean coop with water, feed and something fun to do, you can hole up in your house, get the candles and board games out, just in case, and ride out the storm without having to worry about your hens.
Stay safe, everyone!
BTW- you can purchase cards with that wonderful image of the boy and his chickens here.