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Digital Subscriptions > Chickens > NovDec 2018 > Fall & Winter Care

Fall & Winter Care

Historical Henhouse

It can be difficult to keep chickens healthy, hearty and laying productively through the colder fall and winter months, but it can be done, say the authors of the old-time poultry books we’ll look at in this column. Some, in fact, prefer winter chickens. Myrtle Wilcoxon was one of these.

“Chicks can endure cold weather better than extreme heat,” she wrote in Common Sense on Poultry Raising (1906). “Disease, lice and mites always come with summer months. The expense of feeding is no greater in winter. Profits can be realized from broods hatched in November, December and January.”

Winter hatches, she explained, don’t grow as fast as springtime chicks, but they feather out faster in winter months, are more solid and compact, and are just the right size to sell in April and May. The larger breeds do best, she advised, adding this astounding comment: “One winter, I raised 500 in a vacant room in the house. I could almost see them grow.”

The advantages of an outside run in winter are very great, and it will be found that there are many days quite mild enough to be enjoyed by the chickens even in December and January.” — A.T. Johnson in Chickens and How to Raise Them (1909)
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November/December 2018