In caring for my animals, I am always trying to find the "best way" of doing things.
Each morning, I open up the chicken houses and allow the girls out for free ranging.
After they have all hastily exited their houses, I clean their waterer, refill their food,
and clean up the droppings left while they sleep.
The bedding on the floor of the coops is pine shavings.
Normally I line their nesting boxes with pine shavings too.
This allows for easy manure clean up...
as the girls have a habit of leaving a pile in the boxes as they sleep.
Yesterday I decided it might be nice to line the nesting boxes with hay instead of shavings.
With cold winter weather approaching,
hay makes a better insulator.
And since a few of them have taken to laying their eggs in the hay in the goat houses,
perhaps having hay in their nesting boxes will encourage them to lay at home.
Whatever the result, I must say that the girls were intrigued by the redecorating,
hopping from box to box,
rearranging the hay as they went.
In return for the new bedding,
they payed me with 3 ½ dozen eggs.
Not bad for this time of year!
One of my chicken resources even suggests making curtains for each nesting box...
giving the hens privacy.
Hmmmm, now maybe that will be a project for spring!
You'll notice there is a heat lamp hanging from the ceiling of the coop.
During the earlier weeks of winter this works on a timer...extending the hens' daylight hours.
However, in the winter, the warm red glow of the heat lamp can be seen on 24/7...
keeping the henhouse warm and offering cozy relief from the winter winds.
Egg production does not wane in the wintertime for us...
winter seems to be our most productive time...
due, in part, to the fact that the previous summer's chicks are fully mature at that point.
By the time afternoon came (yesterday) the ground was once again covered
in a fresh layer of snow...
not enough snow to keep Ginger
and MaryAnn inside.
No, they came out to visit through the fence with Moonbeam and the rest of the equines,
who were shoveling small patches of snow away to graze at the little bit of grass
that remained beneath the snow.
There's not a lot of grazing to be done this time of year...
but being out in the pasture
sure beats the boredom of the dry lot!