I apologize for the crappy photo, but I just wated to share a few things I did to hopefully make the girls a bit happier during this cold snap.
1. I put a long branch inside so the hens can perch off the ground and hopefully help warm their toes.
2. I also hung a head of cabbage for them to peck at and play with. At first they were afraid of it, but after they discovered it was edible...all bets were off! I got this idea from About.com. However, now after 2 days its frozen! So I need to get a new one.
3. The last thing I read recently was to feed the chickens right before they go to bed. The digesting food helps to keep them warm overnight..cracked corn was suggested which I don't have so, I fed mine warm oatmeal.
The board is there to hide the cord. I figured they'd mistake it for a worm!
So, two days ago I went out to check the chickens and found their water in a block of ice. It was so frozen I couldn't even get the metal fountain apart so I had to boil a pot of water to melt the fountain.
Even though this made me feel like I was getting into the nitty gritty of being a chicken-mom. I decided this is not what I want to do every morning so, I splurged and bought a heated pan.
I really wanted to try a DIY heater, but my hubby advised against it.
The new set up is NICE. The water is actually warm.
HOWEVER now I'm dealing with high humidity in the coop. I bought a new thermometer/ humidity combo to measure the temps. I have not been able to get the levels down, but I'm experimenting. It reads from 70% to about 90%.
I've read that high humidity in the cold is what helps cause frostbite. My concern is Pearl's massive comb. I put petroleum jelly on it because I read that this helps prevent frostbite. All it seems to have done is make her extremely dirty and unhappy.
We're trying to sleep Ma!
She already had discoloration at the tips, but now I can't tell if its dirt or what? What I really want to do is put her in the bathtub and scrub her head.
Anyway, here's a good link from Backyard Chickens
on WINTER COOP TEMPERATURES
One more thing: I've noticed their laying schedule changed when this cold snap started. Ginger skipped a day and this morning I saw Pearl in the nest box before the sun was even out...