The leaves are turning, the goats have grown thick coats, and the hens are molting. Winter is on its way. This was the time of year that flocks were thinned and all hens over two years of age were harvested and canned for winter meals. The youngest hens were kept on, as were a favorite chicken or two.
This photo shows a family in Maine. It’s telling that the portrait was taken with a rooster, a hen, and a cat. No doubt that they were all loved pets.
It looks cold, doesn’t it? But you can be sure that those chickens didn’t have an insulated barn and heat lamps and did just fine! Your hens will be fine this winter, too. Shelter them in a draft-free, dry and clean coop, and keep them busy with cabbages and greens. When there’s snow and ice on the ground, shovel what you can and spread some hay so that they can step outside for fresh air and exercise. For more about how to care for chickens in cold winter weather, read my FAQ.