Wow! What a crazy couple of weeks it has been! With mid-semester grading, baby preparations, winter preparations, choir rehearsals and concerts, and my best friend visiting, I feel as though I've been running non-stop! Thankfully, though, we've had a enough time to get a few of the winterizing tasks checked off the to-do list, and just in time as the cold weather arrived yesterday and seems to be here to stay!
One of those tasks has been to get the girls ready for the long winter months ahead. They were in need of a good coop cleaning, but they've also been in need of a bit more space. When we got our two new chicks in the spring, we knew that we'd eventually need to figure out a solution for the limited run space that we have for our ladies. For the summer, we made a makeshift fence that connected to the run and allowed them a bit more space in which to roam, dig, dust bathe, and do their chicken things. This worked great for the summer when we were home so much during the day, but it was not a great solution for the fall, winter, and spring since the ladies had their ways of escaping their confinement. So, a couple weeks ago, Dan made the fence around their chicken yard, as I like to call it, a bit more permanent! He also expanded it to include the space behind the coop next to the covered wood pile. The ladies love it! They have more places to explore, hang out, and escape from any possible predators. It's a perfect solution to our crowded run! Hooray! Over the next few weeks, the opening from the run to the chicken yard will also become a closing door of sorts with a latch to help protect our ladies from possible nighttime predators.
The ladies' water heater has also been returned to them, along with their run light which extends their daylight hours a bit. Once the snow starts blowing, they'll also get a layer of plastic wrapped around the lower half of their run to protect them from the elements a bit more. They seem pleased with all these changes, both in scenery and weather. However, at least four of our five older chickens are in the middle of their fall molt right now and so this sudden cold front may have caught their naked little bodies by surprise. Naked chickens...really, you'd think they'd have more decency!
Alas, it feels so very good to have the ladies ready for the long winter ahead. I know I'm ready for the shorter days and the cold quiet evenings. I hope they are too.