It doesn’t need to be hard. And, I have always made it HARD.
I usto think I would just run out to the coop, feed the ladies, flip the water, toss out some treats and be back in the confines of my cozy house in 5 minutes flat, or less which, I think is faster than most ambulances, isn’t it?
But here’s the thing.
It Never Worked out as I planned ….never 5 minutes.
For starters, I’d run out in clothes that were/are inappropriate for being out in the cold, wet, mud, rain [insert your weather situation here]. Because I’m usually in my home wearing something cozy and comfortable my “just going to run out to the coop real quick” looked like this:
a tank top/t-shirt or other inside/summer apparel
thin yoga pants or capri pajama bottoms,
flip flops or open toe Birkenstocks,
and then I’d throw on a sweatshirt or zip up a hoodie and dash out.
IMMEDIATELY my feet were cold and usually got wet, which I hated. Then I’d be bumping into and brisking past the foliage in and around my coop which would splash me with a fan of cold water droplets. And, now, mad + wet and miserable – I’m about 21 seconds into my 5 minute jaunt in a bigger hurry and frustrated. Lawd, help my husband if he happens to inquire as to what’s for dinner when I get back inside!
Are you with me?
Here’s what I’ve done to switch it up:
When I know I’m going outside to do what I consider to be chicken chores (put them up, let them out, collect eggs, clean the coop, etc) I have the following things at the ready, by the door, with no exception.
- Rain boots always by the door. This is a 24/7/365 thing. Not just for Winter. Socks tucked into said rain boots to keep my Flintstone feed warm and dry. Boots are easy to slip on/off and can be cleaned up simply as well: with a hose.
- Beanies and scarves. These are a must have for me. Get yourself a beanie with a usb light in the fold. Best purchase ever.
- A base layer. For me it’s a zip up “inner layer” with a hood and it has pockets too.
- A zip up longer jacket that is my “outer layer” – also with a hood and zipper pockets.
- Paper towels are in my pockets. Why? Chicken poop that’s why. You know when you reach down to touch something and end up with stinky turd residue on your skin, on a finger or on your shoe? Yeah…… (I also keep wet wipes in my coop storage…)
Armored up with 1-5 above I’m able to go out in my comfy clothes and be bundled and protected from the elements.
Just think how much more pleasant it can and will be when you go out into the crappy world and are prepared for it.
Colder weather folks are probably wearing gloves too.
HANDY CHICKEN COOP THINGS for shitty winter weather.
For the outside: I have purchased three sets of these. Zero batteries needed. One points at the front of my coop. The other is at the back of my coop and it shines brightly on the rear gate when it detects any activity. We have them all over our property and I took one to Baja with me: totally reliable, solar, functional and EASY to set up and use.
Now for inside: I keep the following things in my storage area and have found them helpful to have on hand during winter :
- Razor knife/scissors: you just never know…….cut open a tricky feed bag or treat bag with a crappy heat seal?
- Water fountain brush: oh man, my water fountain can get slimy and just plain dirty quickly
- Paper towel roll: poop, water, blow’n my nose, wiping my hands
- Canister of disinfectant wipes: see above
- A towel: see above and also…..a sick chicken
- Gallon of water: I have a crooked beak and add water to her pellets daily to make mush
- Small flashlight: for who knows what – it’s always something
- Broom: to usher out baby opossums
- Small tarp: divert rainwater, cover feed, etc
In closing…when on a plane they tell us to put on our oxygen mask first don't they? I know fully understand it applies to chicken coop chores too! Get comfortable, bundle up, make sure you can see what the heck you are doing and then get out there and do the thing.
....at least try these things and then see if you can be happy with your chicken keeping chores during winter.
All my best, Dawn