This morning I was greeted by the first four eggs from our newest flock of chickens. It seems odd that all four chickens began laying on the same day. The duck is still holding out. At least I assume she is, because I’m guessing duck eggs look different. Perhaps they have a deep chocolate color and are shaped like octagons. I can’t wait to see one of those, or the odd isosceles triangle just waiting to be cracked. I hear they’re delicious.
Anyhow, I’m taking this opportunity to share my latest discovery to help a backyard flock thrive through even the harshest winters. We’re in Duluth, Minnesota, near the shore of Lake Superior, and I’m still fully committed to getting our birds outside as much as possible. This is critical for their health. In the past I’ve relied exclusively on hay, which is certainly the best because it doubles as a food source for them. At $6 a bale in these parts, it’s too expensive though. This year I’ve got 20-30 extra bags of leaves from the neighbors that I’m using. Now I’m able to be super extravagant and liberal with the leaves. Chickens will not venture out much if their run is full of snow and ice. This provides them with plenty of warm ground to walk, peck, and scratch in. I’ve been dumping 3-4 bags of leaves at a time, and my gals just love them. It also will look awesome all winter long to see all this spent chlorophyll in contrast to all the white stuff everywhere.
Lastly, I’ve enjoyed providing a water pan for the duck to splash around in. She seems impervious to the cold and loves her bath regardless of the temperature. I suppose I may provide her a bath daily as long as the temperature is above 10-15 degrees, and the wind is light. Add in some sun, and it’s just another day at the beach for her.