Monday, February 28, 2011

Winter days and chicken keeping

Spending the $100 on the water heater and watering can (below) was a good investment this winter with all of the freezing temperatures. I wonder if the birds object to drinking warm water.

The hens tipped over the water can sometime in the past 24 hours, so I started the day by cleaning up wet shavings mixed with chicken manure before breakfast, then disinfecting the water container.

The birds sometimes tip over the water to protest  something. Not sure what they're mad about except the continued warm weather that freezes their beloved compost pile at left.
There aren't many bugs to eat this time of year. The hens are still laying quite well thanks to the light installed in the coop. And they're continuing to bully poor Mooey -- see the bare spot on her back, above. Speckle, top right, has also been victimized by the bullying.

My school presentation "Rules and Rulers of the Roost" is taking form. I'm getting lots of photos and creating ways for the students to solve problems and answer questions on barnyard bullying. I'm looking forward to hearing their solutions.

Animals have a lot to teach us about bullying. Establishing a pecking order lets every chicken know her place.

I don't like how they peck on poor Mooey. One explanation could be that they're stressed by being cooped up during the long winter. They choose to stay cooped up on snow days, like yesterday when it snowed four inches. They hate to go outside in snow and rain. Unlike water fowl, chickens lack a way to make oil to make the water roll off their feathers.

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