Maybe it’s the warmer weather, or maybe it’s that the warmer weather has lifted some of my worry, but I think my girls are happier and healthier this week.
I broke my rule of “no extra treats, only layer ration” a couple of times to give them homemade yogurt and oatmeal. Call me crazy, but I think the yogurt really helped. Scruffy is no longer sneezing, and all three of them seem to be more active and have more energy.
Poor Liesl and her second molt in the span of six months. I think now that we probably triggered her molt by messing around with the light in the coop. We turned it off completely for a month, hoping that Ginger would finally finish her molt (that she started in December), and she did, but it then kicked Liesl into a second molt.
Live and learn.
I also had the chance to email with a couple other backyard chicken keepers in our city, and it really helped put my mind at ease about heating the coop. One person does have a heat lamp that they turn on when it gets below -25C; the other person doesn’t heat their coop, other than a regular light bulb (for eggs). I guess there’s no hard and fast rule; I think you just do what makes you comfortable. Honestly, I would feel more comfortable if we had a heat lamp in there for the really cold nights. I think I’ll look into setting something up, that won’t be a fire hazard.
So I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t think we’re doing anything wrong. Chickens are not vending machines, but living, breathing, biological little creatures, and I can’t expect them to produce eggs like crazy. I certainly wouldn’t want to be laying eggs when it’s -45 C outside.
I guess they’ll start laying again when they’re good and ready.