Friday, December 18, 2009


I'm such a good mama to my chickens. Too good. So, last night after dinner I noticed that it was getting really cold outside. The thermometer read 7 degrees F. This is the coldest it has been so far this year. And it was not even the overnight low!

I started to worry about the chickens. I had been meaning to look up winter care for them to be sure I remembered all that that they needed in the coldest time of the year, from when I read all about it this spring. But I decided I did not need to do that, I needed to get out there and do something for my babies! I got the heat lamp we got for when they were chicks and my only really long extension cord, which was not rated for outdoor use. But, hey, desperate times call for desperate measures, right? And I headed out there to give my girls some heat. Got it all set up, moved the thermometer to the chicken house to be able to keep tabs on it and headed back inside, content that I was doing the best for my little egg layers.

Back inside, I saw that my thermometer was not reading anything but 7 degrees. Hmmmm, shouldn't it have come up a bit, I thought to myself? I looked out towards the chicken house, expecting to see a red glow from the heat lamp coming from the doorway. Nothing. Boots back on and out I went. The light was out. Oh, no, maybe it was too cold for the extension cord, which by now was frozen and brittle. I unhooked the lamp and brought it into the garage to see if it would work plugged directly into the socket. No go. So, I took it inside to investigate further. When I plugged it in in the kitchen it sputtered and blew out! Damm! Now what?

After going back out to gather up the extension cord, veeeery carefully so as not to crack the frozen plastic, and shut the garage door, I came back in defeated. Well, I better do that research now. Maybe they will be ok, or maybe there is something else I can do. Got online and did a search. Turns out Rhode Island Reds are extremely cold hardy (I knew that!) and as long as you make sure they have fresh unfrozen water and a draft free spot to roost, they should be ok in the coldest of weather. Phew! I was doing everything right! My babies would be ok!

And when I got up early this morning to bring them unfrozen, liquid water and a cup of scratch grains, they were fine. Just as I knew they would be. ;-)


TheOrganicSister said...

7 degrees wasn't your low??

Our high is in the 60's today.

Miranda said...

Nope, according to the weather channel records, last night's low was a whopping 2 degrees. Of course it could have been colder here, but my thermometer decided to go on the fritz after I left it in the chicken house, so I'll never know. BUT I got two, 2!, eggs out the girls this morning, so I am convinced of their cold hardiness.
Our high today was 26. ;-)

Sandra Dodd said...

What about hot rocks or something you could heat in the oven and leave out there with or near them? I was thinking corn bags, but they'd probably open it up and eat the corn.

Maybe heat their feed.

Miranda said...

That's an idea worth keeping in my toolbox, Sandra. Although my research said they would be better off without a heat source, to allow them to adapt and acclimate. In case the heat ever went away suddenly they would be in trouble if they had not acclimated. Made sense to me. I just keep thinking of the wild birds around here who live all winter outside and do just fine, when I worry a bit.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness. Glad they are ok. You know me and animals....I worry too. And they aren't even mine.