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Maybe it’s the warmer weather, or maybe it’s that the warmer weather has lifted some of my worry, but I think my girls are happier and healthier this week.

I broke my rule of “no extra treats, only layer ration” a couple of times to give them homemade yogurt and oatmeal. Call me crazy, but I think the yogurt really helped. Scruffy is no longer sneezing, and all three of them seem to be more active and have more energy.

chickens taking a dirt bath

Poor Liesl and her second molt in the span of six months. I think now that we probably triggered her molt by messing around with the light in the coop. We turned it off completely for a month, hoping that Ginger would finally finish her molt (that she started in December), and she did, but it then kicked Liesl into a second molt.

Live and learn.

I also had the chance to email with a couple other backyard chicken keepers in our city, and it really helped put my mind at ease about heating the coop. One person does have a heat lamp that they turn on when it gets below -25C; the other person doesn’t heat their coop, other than a regular light bulb (for eggs). I guess there’s no hard and fast rule; I think you just do what makes you comfortable. Honestly, I would feel more comfortable if we had a heat lamp in there for the really cold nights. I think I’ll look into setting something up, that won’t be a fire hazard.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t think we’re doing anything wrong. Chickens are not vending machines, but living, breathing, biological little creatures, and I can’t expect them to produce eggs like crazy. I certainly wouldn’t want to be laying eggs when it’s -45 C outside.

I guess they’ll start laying again when they’re good and ready.