COOP News Vol. 3, No. 2, October 25, 2008
Hi all you COOP-ers,
Time for another irregular, random COOP Newsletter.
First of all, thank you again to Susan and Dick von Medicus for hosting our last meeting. We had perfect weather and were all able to hang out on their patio. We met some wonderful new people, traded eggs, shared our chicken libraries and really enjoyed meeting Bob Sheasley and his wife Suzanne, who told us great stories and signed our copies of "Home to Roost".
Welcome to our new COOP members:
- Sherry Moman — lives in Wyndmoor with 4 Rhode Island Reds
- Ilene Ogando-Cohen — also lives in Wyndmoor and used to have chickens and is ready for more
- Barb and Joe Mellon — and their two sons Ben and Alex (10 and 11 years old). They are just getting started with their setup and are going for pullets (smart for this time of year).
That brings us up to 41 people on my mailing list!
People have been interested in visiting other people's coops. I love to do that, too. If you are interested, email me and maybe we can get a car-pool together.
I've been doing a lot of thinking and researching what I need to do for the chickens this winter, and basically, I came up with "keep them out of drafts." Apparently, chickens have been around a long time (30,000 years and counting) and know how to survive the winter without a lot of fuss and bother from us humans.
Now, that shouldn't stop anyone from winterizing their chickens, er, coops. Larry (next door) and Lisa & Laurie like to pile bales of straw or hay around the outside/underneath of the coop to keep out the cold winds, and I read recommendations to put up some plywood on the windy side of your chicken run. All good advice I think. The Acme down the street from me is selling bales of hay, 2 for $5 right now.
Another word about drafts. In my research, "keep out of drafts" always seemed to go hand-in-hand with "need lots of ventilation" which got me very confused. How you can you have good ventilation without drafts? The answer seemed to be, if the air blows on the chickens it's a draft. If it doesn't, it's ventilation. So, if you are buttoning up your coops, don't plug up every hole or the girls will likely overheat rather than freeze!
I've also looked into using water heaters vs replacing frozen water each day with fresh. Since I don't have an electrical source near my coop I'm going for the latter (or thinking of just moving the water into the garage at night) but at some point I'll probably really wish for a heater!
The way I see it, if chickens can live through New York, Minnesota and Canadian winters with temps below 0 for weeks on end, they can survive a Philadelphia winter without too much trouble.
Kristina and Andrew's Polish got out of the coop last week and spent a few hours stuck under their porch. She ended up needing a vet visit and several stitches. Kristina — how's she doing? Also, for those of us who may need a chicken vet, where did you take her?
NEW — WHO'S LAYING?
Sherri and Steve now have 2 hens a-laying! A light brown egg and a spotted brown egg. They're not sure who is laying what. Does anyone know who lays spotted brown eggs? I think it might be the Rhode Island Red.
Ron and Carolyn now also have 2 hens a-laying! The Egyptian Fayoumi and an unidentified brown egg (probably the Buff Orp)
Nancy and Doug have 3 layers and Lisa and Laurie 2 or 3.
TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT SPRING CHICKENS?
I am personally obsessed over getting some new chicks in the spring. I'm interested in several Barnevelders, which lay the dark chocolate-colored eggs, and maybe another Americauna or a Speckled Sussex.
Who else is planning on getting chicks? Any idea what kind?
Here's a great link: ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/dual.html
Anyone interested in hosting the next meeting? We were thinking maybe it would be fun to do a Saturday night Holiday meeting/get-together. Who has room for 30+ inside? Alternately, we could just wait until Jan/Feb when we want to get together to figure out what new chicks to order.
Looking forward to hearing from y'all.