Hens in Winter

We are excited about getting baby chicks next month and are making arrangements to be there when the shipments arrive at our local feed store. There are a couple of Thursdays in February when the store is supposed to have eight breeds arriving. Newly hatched chicks are shipped right away—for the first three days after hatching they don’t need food or water, so they can be safely shipped and will arrive alive! (This is just amazing to me.)

Once we have them, we’ll have to keep our chicks in our garage for the first eight weeks or so, in a cozy, clean box with a heat source. We are hoping to get all different varieties so that we can know them as individuals and be able to tell them all apart. It will be so fun to hold fluffy chicks and feed them by hand! This is sure to make them very friendly.

The five hens we have are doing great, though their egg production has slowed because of the shorter days of winter. We had a ton of rain in December and it turned our happy hens into sodden, bedraggled hens and our chicken run into a muddy mess. The girls seem to be doing fine regardless of the rainstorms, yet these drier days of January are a relief, I think.


Fireball is quite adventuresome. She led the others right up to our backdoor and peered inside at us, as if to say, “Hey, lady! Let us in!”

Sunrise, Midnight, and Fireball

Midnight, in the back there, is molting, so she’s looking scruffier than usual, especially on her breast. In November, Snowdrift molted and it was somewhat distressing for us newby chicken farmers to see her looking so scraggly and pathetic, with all those pretty pure-white feathers scattered about. Snowdrift’s new feathers have since grown in and she’s now especially lovely (but shy).


I was surprised that Sunrise was willing to get so close to me. Usually she’s pretty skittish. She gives us green eggs, which is pretty cool if you ask me.

We’re hoping to get Australorp, Plymouth Rock, Buff Orpington, Wyandotte, Sussex, and Welsummer (a hen that lays dark brown eggs) chicks. All of these except the Welsummer are considered to be excellent layers with a high yield and friendly, calm birds. Now isn’t this a whole new kind of geeky?

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

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