Our remaining fifteen chickens seem to be handling the yo-yo effect of the South Carolina Indian Summer. Some days it’s upper 70s and some days it’s in the 40s or 50s. We’ve set up the coop with one of the heat lamps we purchased when the chickens were delivered as day old chicks.

I’ve been giving them some extra feed, as they are conserving energy for warmth. Yeah, we only get a few eggs a day out of them now, so I’m hoping the extra feed will help that problem. I hate the idea of having to back to buying eggs for cooking and baking for all my needs again, instead of just as supplements. Almost all the underbrush in their bigger, open pen going out into the woods has been stripped on the lowest points. I believe the bigger pen is about 12×40, if not larger; it’s a huge open space we have fenced off, to keep them safe from our dogs. They are now starting on the upper portions of the underbrush.

To help them, in addition to the heat lamp we already have placed in their roost/coop, we are planning to start supplementing their feed with some forage cakes. The corn will take them longer to digest, so it helps them with their energy stores for longer periods of time, plus it will reduce the amonia smell of their droppings which will help keep preditors at bay.

Also, giving them warmer water, not just out of the hose pipe, will also help them keep their temperatures higher. I might get one of those fancy nancy electric bowl heaters before winter sets in, to help them keep a continuous supply of warmer water.

What tips or advice do ya’ll have out there for a first time chicken farmer?