homesteading in the winter is slow and frustrating. I laugh at us (me and my husband) sometimes (even though some days I wanna cry) because both of our hearts are in full-blown homestead mode, but we are so beginner that we have 9 times out of 10 put the cart before the horse on almost every project. and then we get stir crazy and wanna work work work to fix our mistakes, but the season and the temperature and the sun say, “slow down.”
like with our chicken adventure. haha I’m laughing typing this because we are just so humbly new to everything and clueless to say the least. example? if you’re expecting a baby, most people will make sure they have a house before the due date, right? like a place to sleep and eat and live? you wouldn’t go into labor without a home, right? I mean, in most cases, no, you would never do that, if you can avoid it.
well, take it from me, you don’t want to order chickens until you have a coop either. don’t do that. don’t be like us. build your coop months in advance… or do it the hard way like us! put a time crunch of yourselves and stress for weeks as the impending cold weather approaches and your chickens severely outgrow their brooder. hahaha we made it work though. 6 weeks old is when you would normally introduce chicks to their coop. but the coop wasn’t ready. so instead, we let the girls and rooster) free range during the day in a fenced-in area and then would bring them in to the brooder each night. We did this for about 2 weeks while Grant stressed over this coop completion. Not ideal, but it worked.
I laugh because the struggle is over. the coop is built. there are lots of finishing touches we need to do, but that will wait until the first warmth of spring, as it should.
our 5 buff orpington babies now reside in their coop. it took a week to train them, with lots of bumps and bruises along the way. integrating flocks can be tricky, and after some mistakes, we got our groove and the babies go into their coop at sundown, no problem. I’m proud of them and their instincts!
the “bigger” ladies, as we call them, are a mixture of our 4 mature hens that we inherited from friends and our one lone hen that we raised. She came with our meat bird order; I think I’ll dedicate an entire blog to “black beauty” and her journey and struggle joining our family. She ain’t nice, but we know exactly why . . .
so something SPECTACULAR happened this week! the bigger ladies started laying eggs again! when we inherited them back in October, they surprisingly kept laying for a few weeks in their new home. then, each hen started molting, and the egg production stopped. we really thought we wouldn’t see any eggs again until the spring, considering it’s winter and production normally slows anyway because of less sunlight etc.
But on a brisk Tuesday morning, I happened to poke my head inside the coop, and BAM, two beautiful eggs waiting for me.
it’s exciting and we are grateful. we are still supplementing our egg supply with a neighbor who raises her own chickens too and her ladies have not slowed down this winter, thankfully!
overall, these colder days haven’t been too hard on the chickens. and the little girls are getting along with the bigger girls (exception: black beauty the bully). oh and did I mention we have a rooster?! yup, another fun mishap from the hatchery – perhaps another blog post I’ll explain the ins and outs of purchasing chicks from a hatchery; you rarely get what what you order lol. at least, the two orders we have made, we had multiple surprises.
now, to find the best way to keep the chicken water from freezing . . . thanks for reading!