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COOP (Chicken Owners Outside Philadelphia)
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Coop News Vol. 4 No. 5, December 16, 2009

Hey Fellow COOPERS,

Happy Holidays to one and all! I hope everyone has been healthy and is looking forward (or enjoying) a peaceful and happy holiday season.

WINTERIZE YOUR FLOCK

Now that winter is upon us and the temperatures dropping, time to think about keeping the chickens warm and dry. As we discussed last year, no extreme steps need to be taken to care for hens in this part of the country. As long as you're not planning on moving your flock to Minnesota or Alaska, just keeping the drafts down and making sure the water doesn't freeze should be enough to care for them.

Some of us have found that packing some extra bales of straw around any cracks or drafty areas helps (plus, the birds seem to like to peck through it — gives them something to do).

As for freezing water, someone sent around a video of someone who had made a water warmer from a terracotta planter and 60 watt lightbulb. There's a link on the COOP website: chickenowners.com/vids.htm

Alternatives include metal heated warmers that only turn on if the temperature gets below 35 (meant for indoor use) and heated plastic waterers (can be found at McMurrays site). Last year I was very successful using a heated dog kennel warmer (still using it this year). I got it on ebay for $24 but don't see any there now (under the name "LECTRO-KENNEL SMALL HEATED PAD DOG").

You can also bring the water indoors at night but if it gets really cold during the day the water will freeze anyway.

GET READY FOR SPRING CHICKS

Lisa and Laurie are preparing for chicks for mid-February delivery and are looking for folks to go in on an order. They are getting 10 and need another 15 to make the McMurray's 25 minimum.

Please let Laurie know before January 8th. Look for chicks here: mcmurrayhatchery.com/day_old_baby_chickens.html

From last year's experience we found that bantam chicks don't travel so well in the winter (several died within a few hours of delivery) so please keep to the larger breeds.

The advantage of getting chicks in February is that the should be laying by July/August (maybe even June if you get leghorns).

2ND ANNUAL WINTER COOP PARTY

Last year we had a wonderful, grown-up party at the Barren Hill Firehouse. Let's do it again!

I gave Sherri two possible dates and both are available. Any preference between Saturday, January 23 or Saturday, January 30 at 7pm?

Here's the sCOOP:

Barren Hill Fire Company, 647 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill PA (across from Brittinghams and the General Lafayette Inn)

* Pot luck as usual * Black tie (optional) * Chicken accessories (optional but highly encouraged)

Last year we had a great dinner, music, door prizes, Amy's beautiful feathered mardi gras mask, and of course, the Chicken Dance.

NEW MEMBERS — Welcome!

Laurie from Feasterville — she has a flock of two (hey Liz, maybe she'll take those Delawares off your hands!) Amy Roak from Fort Washington

CHICKENS OF NOTE

Pardon the boast but we seem to have a very photogenic chicken.

Last Thanksgiving Doug's cousin took a picture of our two buff orpingtons (Ishtar and Nanshe) that I submitted to BackyardChickens.com. They ran it as a "Pic of the Week". In August I got an email asking if they could include the picture in their calendar! So, they are featured on a month (not sure which one yet) along with three other Pics of the Week. Check it out! click here

Also, the Acme's grand reopening a few weeks ago included a pet photo contest. Doug submitted a picture of Ishtar and won first prize! Our major award included: a box of Acme brand Cocoa Crunchies, a Power Bar and a two pack of lip balm!

Watch out Hollywood, here she comes.

Stay warm and dry and have a great holiday season!

~:> Nancy