I’ve had a lot of people ask me how the chickens will fare once winter really arrives. Well that’s one answer – in the Pacific Northwest, winter never really arrives, at least not the sort of winter that people think of when they think “winter.”
Temperatures here rarely fall below freezing, and then only just. When the overnight lows are forecast to be in the teens, the local news stations work themselves up into quite a tizzy. Once a year it will snow, maybe three or four inches, but it melts within a few days.
The second answer is, chickens are pretty sturdy. I chose heavy breeds for this reason, breeds developed for climates like mine (England) or worse (Rhode Island). They have wonderful thick soft down jackets and pants. People raise these breeds in climates a lot worse than mine. Maine for pity’s sake. Minnesota! Vermont! Places that do get a real winter.
The real problem is keeping them dry. Chicken poop plus wet chicken litter equals GROSS and also BACTERIA and also DANK. Unfortunately, this is a battle I have been fighting for the last six weeks, and I’m still losing it, and I don’t know why.
Rainwater is defying gravity to seep upwards from the floor right below that window. In fact you can see the black patches – that’s mildew, from the constant damp. The problem is that the floor is untreated plywood, and it’s not holding up well.
This, even though whenever I find the bedding has gotten wet, I change it. Which is to say, about every other day since the first week of October.
I’ve gone through two of those huge bales of compressed shavings. Not the ones you buy at the pet store – the ones you buy at the feed store, bigger than a bale of straw, and a whole lot heavier. The kind for horses.
I know what you’re thinking: well, put a tarp over it! Allow me to pan back.
Yeah, I’m stumped, too.