Winter Care for Chickens

taken from wikimedia, author addshore

I’ve had several people ask about housing and caring for hens in winter, and it’s best to start thinking about it now while the weather still allows for easy modification of the coop.

People are often shocked to find out that coops in Michigan don’t need to be heated. They do, however, require adequate ventilation- in cold temps, the breath & waste from chickens create a damp environment in ventilation restricted coops, which can lead to condensation, frostbite, and ammonia buildup.

A good example of a coop suitable for Michigan’s winters is located here:
http://www.greenchickencoop.com/

Robert Plamondon has a thorough write up regarding proper winter care on his website:
http://www.plamondon.com/faq_winter.html

Support from the Oakland County 4-H Poultry Club!

http://ferndale.patch.com/articles/oakland-county-4-h-club-to-erect-chicken-coop-prior-to-public-hearing

On Sept. 14, the Ferndale Planning Commission is holding a public hearing for the revisions to the chicken ordinance in Ferndale. Prior to the meeting, the Oakland County 4-H Poultry Club will be on hand with a constructed coop.

Coverage in the Oakland Press!

http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/09/06/news/local_news/doc4e66171311d4b591299644.txt

FERNDALE – Allowing chickens in residential backyards in cities such as Hazel Park and Madison Heights hasn’t raised much of a squawk, and Ferndale may be next with a new fowl-friendly law.

The city Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing Sept. 14 on a revised ordinance that will permit residents to keep up to three chickens, but no roosters.

The issue in Ferndale has been marinating since earlier this year when Laura Mikulski and some other residents began pressing city officials to allow chickens and change an existing ordinance that requires chickens be kept at least 150 feet from the nearest neighbor’s property.

Given the size of residential lots in Ferndale, the current ordinance effectively bans chickens in 90 percent of city neighborhoods.

Coverage by the Macomb Daily!

Current laws already address noise, smell

Allowing chickens in residential backyards in cities such as Hazel Park and Madison Heights hasn’t raised much of a squawk, and Ferndale may be next with a new fowl-friendly law.

The city Planning Commission has scheduled a public hearing Sept. 14 on a revised ordinance that will permit residents to keep up to three chickens, but no roosters.

The issue in Ferndale has been marinating since earlier this year when Laura Mikulski and some other residents began pressing city officials to allow chickens and change an existing ordinance that requires chickens be kept at least 150 feet from the nearest neighbor’s property.
Given the size of residential lots in Ferndale, the current ordinance effectively bans chickens in 90 percent of city neighborhoods.

But that prohibition may soon head south.

City officials said they have been talking with their counterparts in other communities where chickens are allowed as they consider whether to allow them in Ferndale.

“I’ve spoken with Ypsilanti and Madison Heights,” said Derek Delacourt, Community and Economic Development director in Ferndale. “Each community had between 10 and 20 permits pulled (to keep chickens) and they have had few, if any, complaints.”

Ferndale is considering an ordinance that will reduce its current distance limits on chickens from nearby property owners and introduce requirements for coops to be kept in rear yards. Concerns about cleanliness, odor and attracting vermin are covered mostly by existing city laws.

Backyard chicken advocates say the birds are a natural, low-cost way to have fresh eggs and fertilizer for gardens. Keeping chickens in urban areas is a somewhat popular trend and over the past several years has cropped up in New York, San Francisco and cities in between.
http://www.macombdaily.com/articles/2011/09/04/online/srv0000013582873.txt

USA Weekend: It’s easy to raise your own backyard chickens.

http://www.usaweekend.com/article/20110902/HOME/309020004/It-s-easy-raise-your-own-backyard-chickens-?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Frontpage

Raising chickens is the natural next step for anyone growing her own fruit and vegetables. And the popularity of “homesteading” like this has a lot to do with the economy: Raising your own food is almost always cheaper than buying it at the store.

Plus, chickens make great pets, says Patricia Foreman, author of City Chicks and co-host of the Chicken Whisperer Talk Show on blogtalkradio.com. “They’re not the dirty, stupid, prickly birds they’re reputed to be.” To work on their image, Foreman has what she calls “chicken ambassadors” (named Oprah Henfrey and Attila the Hen, by the way), which she brings to schools and nursing homes to spread the good word about chicken rearing.

Here are some of her tips:
Get six to eight hens.

At their peak, each chicken will produce an egg a day. After just a couple of years, production will decrease, but they’re still useful: They act as insect regulators, eating ticks and fleas. They also can help keep waste out of landfills, as they will eat (and enjoy) your kitchen scraps.
Have a good coop.

Be sure they have a coop structure in which they will be protected from nocturnal predators. The design can vary, but it should have a roof, a branch or 2-by-4 for roosting, and a “run,” where the chickens have space to roam.
Get advice.

Local poultry club members can tell you good breeds for your area.
Check the laws.

In many municipalities, hens are OK, but roosters are not; in others, no chickens are allowed.