We are not Spring Chickens, but our three hens are a different story – having survived a difficult winter where deep snow kept them in their coop for nearly four months.
Their coop is a simple wood-and-wire structure large enough for them to roam around. In late fall, we cover it with a plastic tarp and insulate it with about 25 bales of straw around the sides and the top. The girls have an electric light for day and get a heat lamp on the coldest of nights.
They’re quite comfy in there, and have no desire to step into the snow, but as soon as they hear wild birds starting to sing in late winter, they get antsy to be free and roam the backyard, as you see here.
From now until next winter (ugh, shudder), they’ll roam from dawn until dusk chowing down on bugs, slugs and greens from the Gimpy Garden. Each night at dusk, they take themselves back into the coop, where we lock them up until morning to keep them safe from the neighborhood raccoons.
Eds. Note: The girls – one Wyandotte and two Buff Orphingtons – also give us great eggs – if we can beat our dogs to them. Didn’t Willie Nelson have a song about Egg Sucking Dogs?