It was a frosty morning in Chicken World this morning.
I always open the house just as the dark night sky starts to lighten, a few of the girls pop out straight away even though there is little light to see by, but I hear the majority of them shuffling on the perches determined to stay indoors until daylight truly arrives.
After Ginger and the dogs have been fed and I have enjoyed the first coffee of the day, it's time to brave the great frosty outdoors. First the dogs get a lap or two of the paddock, Mavis on a long lead with the others running free here, there and everywhere, although they are staying closer to me now that there is no Charley to play the mad 'chase and lunge' game that she so enjoyed with them.
Then I drop the dogs back indoors, unless Rosy is on a mouse hunting mission, which she has been recently, if that is the case she stays outdoors with me. Then it's over to Chicken World, to scatter corn and visually check the girls (and Caldwell) while they eat it.
It's nice to watch them for a minute, however cold it seems. It gives me the opportunity to look for problems, limps or someone just appearing off colour. Sometimes one will come over and look up as if to say 'give me a cuddle' so I do. It makes me stand and watch a bit longer when I have a warm feathery hot-water bottle in my arms. There's not many of them now that do this so when it happens I make the most of it.
You've not lived until you've cuddled a chicken!!
Two of the girls, Daisy and Titch like to eat of corn apart from the others, so I always make sure a handful lands over the fence near the house, and they dash out from under it and have a peaceful two or three minutes to eat on their own before the others realise and come round the fence to join them.
I open the window to let the house air while I top up the feeders and check for frozen water.
A good glug of water added from the watering can has been enough up to now to dissolve ice. But when it gets truly frozen I try remember to bring the kettle over and properly thaw things out.
The long feeding trough is left to fill with rainwater through the Winter, it's used for veggie trimmings in Summer, but the girls love to drink rain rather than tap water so I leave it out. It freezes quickly but also thaws well after a couple of hours.
The other metal drinker tends to freeze less as there are two layers of metal between the outdoors and the water it contains.
I always check that the small feeder is topped up, the chickens seem to prefer this one, although the larger girls have to duck right down under the rain cover to get at the layers pellets it contains.
The larger food hopper holds a whole bag of layers pellets so we know that food is always available, if the spouts are a bit clogged a good rock from side to side soon gets the pellets flowing freely again.
With the house nicely cleaned out .....
... the nesting boxes ready for egg laying action, and interior drinker refilled ...
... my last job is to close off the window.
This means the girls aren't sitting in draughts while they lay their eggs and it keeps the house as cosy as possible until dusk falls and the final job of the day is to close the main door.
You may have noticed that we have gone back to our first style of henhouse. The larger one we had for a while, and that is just visible in the top picture just proved all wrong for our style of hen keeping and, as soon as we have time, it will be dismantled and removed from Chicken World. In the meantime it is providing a good rainy day cover for the girls to sit under.
Our new henhouse is once again the 'Maggies 24 Henhouse' from Flyte So Fancy, this is NOT a sponsored post we just love shouting out about products and their providers that we love.
Although Ann did send me a lovely little 'added extra' of sample products with our henhouse order. THANK YOU.