Friday, January 4, 2013

Ice Water For the Chickens

               This is my flock of bantams hatched out this past August by some very industrious & broody hens.The black chickens are purebred Bantam Cochins , unfortunately most of them are roosters. They sleep overnight in an old shed, then during the day I let them out in the fenced in area in the back of our home. 
The other day the water in the bucket had frozen overnight and was ice. It was fun to watch the chickens head for the water, then perch on top of the ice while seeking the melted spots.I did add some hot water on top to melt the ice a little.
The white chickens are Silkie & Bantam White Cochin crosses, and again, these are mostly roosters. So far this arrangement has worked out. They sleep in the shed, then get out during the day to browse, peck at things, play, fluff themselves in the loose soil ( when it is not frozen) then they return to the lighted  shed for the evening.
It is important to remember to keep your chickens supplied with plenty of water during freezing temperatures.I usually find myself taking buckets of hot water out to my chickens , and they love it.

All last spring & summer, I added apple cider vinegar to the poultry water. I read that it helps poultry in many ways. Helping prevent coccidiosis is among the supposed benefits. If you show your poultry, adding vinegar ( 1 Tablespoon per gallon) to their water at home will allow you to add it to the water in their show cages, making it familiar and a boost to their health during the stress of showing, where often the poultry are there for a few days.

Remember, water is very, very important in the production of eggs, and chickens left for long periods of time without water will stop laying, and even die,besides, who wants to deprive their chickens of a long tall drink of water anyway? "Water makes up a large portion of the hen's body and is a major constituent of the egg. Water helps to soften the feed and aids in its digestion, absorption and assimilation.If hens are deprived of water for only a short time, egg production will suffer." Raising Poultry The Modern Way by Leonard Mercia


  1. Beautiful flock. The black and white contrasting colors are gorgeous... Now, what to do with all those roos?!
    (You also have a cute flock of grandchildren!)
    Have a Happy New Year!

    1. Rebecca, thank-you! As to your question, well... it is a very good question. What do I do with all these roos? The crafty little bantam hens hide all the eggs they want to hatch, and one day, after being gone for a week I discover a lot of little peeping cuties in the back corner of a shed.The mommas are very good at what they do, and I had no problem selling most of the hens, but roosters, no way.

      I have taken bantam roosters to a poultry auction house that is a 45 minute drive one way, and with all the time & effort of doing that, a whole pen of 4 will sell for maybe $6.00. Usually I get about $1.00 for each bantam rooster. Not worth it.

      I have decided to allow them to free range during the day, and I feed them an all-stock ration, leaving them to get bugs & plants to fill in their diet. With all the natural predators, they eventually become dinner to owls, hawks, raccoons, coyotes. Maybe even feral cats. I am hoping to have some crafty survivors and then use them as breeding stock, because here we need crafty & smart poultry.

      Meanwhile, all my breeding , showing, and laying flocks are in pens, never let out, because I am weary of losing so many after caring for them and feeding them .

  2. CT had to carry out water in jugs for the first time yesterday since all the waterers were frozen. Nice having an outside hot water faucet. His only issue now is all the little wild birds are congregating inside his chicken pens, eating and pooping with the chickens.

    1. An outside hot water resource, I am jealous ! I have little wrens that seem to find their way into the dove pens, but after a few days of eating and sleeping with the doves, they finally find a way out.