Should Chickens Hibernate?

The biggest issue for us concerning our chickens is keeping them well feed, watered and active. The cold, snow, lack of sunshine and limited day light do little to encourage the ladies to lay eggs so it leaves a fair amount of down time. Scratch grain, chicken crumble and veggie scraps help to keep them moving, fed and entertained with little effort. The water game on the other hand is a little more tedious.

We don’t have fancy electric heaters to keep the water from freezing so we are required to take frequent trips to retrieve, thaw and refill the water dispensers. This requires the use of a snow blower to keep the path easily accessible and a pair of Sorels handy and dry at all times.(not forgetting gloves and long underwear!)

The young farmers are somewhat helpful in the retrieving and redistribution of the water containers, however with a full school schedule it leaves much of the work to the bigger farmers. As we wait for the days to grow longer and for the chickens to once again begin to lay eggs on a regular basis we shall maintain  our daily, seemingly unrewarding regiment. It leads us to wonder what if chickens hibernated all winter would less be headed off to the market or stew pot come fall in our frigid northern reaches?  Food for thought literally!


One thing we have found that works for our water issues is to put our waterer actually inside a heated dog bowl. It works really well. Also, we have found that Barred Rocks pretty much always keep laying through the winter....all our hens are still laying daily. Always enjoy your posts.
Do you guys use heat lamps or any extra lighting to encourage laying? We did with our first set of chickens and they layed thru the winter, we now have our chickens to far from the homestead to offer extra lighting. The Cuckoo Morans are the pickiest little things yet! We will keep the Barred Rocks in mind. Thanks.
Schoohouse Farmers

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