I shoveled out the chicken run the other day. There is still about 3" of ice all over the ground including inside the chicken run. The ice build up was so bad we had to chip away at the ice holding the door to the coop fast in its grips, remove the door and cut about 3" off the bottom. Now the ice should not be able to get its cold hard grasp on the door! Thankfully there was plenty of overhang coverage of the door that allowed us the liberty to just hack off 3". The door still has plenty of coverage to keep the chickies safe and protected from the boogie man out side at night. These chickens are well....chicken about everything!
As I was saying, I shoveled out the run and since it was to be somewhat tolerable temperature and wind-wise, we decided to let the birds out to get some fresh air....Lord knows there is not too much of that in a coop that has been closed up for a few days with 13 chickens inside! I was also concerned that the poor girls would slide on the ice and break a leg. Then I would have to make soup. I was not in the mood for soup - so we sprinkled sand down inside the whole run for them to get some traction. The run is 8x30 so it took a lot of sand. I sprinkled around to scratch grains for them and opened the door.
They all came barreling out of the pop door. Yes that pop door is a cutting board! It works well - don't knock it until you live it, we tried several different materials for the door and the cutting board seems to work the best. They enjoyed the sunshine and the fresh air. Of course Curious stayed by me as she always does.
Even Chip the psycho rooster came out to crow his ownership and over-protectiveness of his girls outside against his wishes. The boy would keep those girls locked up 24/7 if he had his way.
However, as soon as some snow and ice slipped from the truck that was parked nearby he panicked and made all the girls panic. I don't think I have ever seen chickens move so fast as they did to get back inside the coop before the big bad melting sloshing ice could get them....big chickens....Curious did not panic and she stayed out by me gobbling up the scratch grains as fast as she could peck. One of the newer, not too bright birds was gobbling up the sand that we put down...stupid bird brain!
Peep season is fast approaching. We have decided to get 18 peeps this spring to add to the flock. I am off now to check out the on line prices of peeps and design a new brooder/nursery for them. We have always kept the peep brooder in the basement of our house but as we have had a few seasons of chickens now we are improving our process.