Sub Zero Chickens

It’s cold. Not whine about it weatherman cold (which seems to be anything below 65 degrees Fahrenheit), but single digit to sub zero air temp with minus double digit wind chill cold. Welcome to winter in Iowa!

When it’s this cold, I try to fortify the chickens as best I can. In the past, that meant making sure they had plenty of balanced layer feed, clean water in heated containers, and well lined nest boxes. A couple of days ago, I decided to give them a little ground corn to give them something to do while they’re cooped up. Chickens get bored, you know.

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They cleaned up a whole 5 gallon bucket of ground corn by afternoon chore time! I thought that maybe it was just a novelty thing, so the next day I gave them the same amount with the same results. Today I gave the barn chickens a whole bucket to themselves and the coop chickens part of a bucket of corn and an elderly butternut squash.

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Coop chickens enjoying their heat lamp.

I’ve always read that if your hens have a balanced feed ration you shouldn’t feed them supplemental grain. The thinking behind this is that they’ll go for the new and different rather than what’s best for them. Sound familiar???

Anyhow… my barn hens (older flock) have not been laying worth a darn this winter, so I figured adding corn couldn’t hurt anything. Amazingly, yesterday (with a high of 14 degrees F) they laid twice as many eggs as usual. Crazy! I’m eager to see how many I get tonight. Wish me luck!

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