Three French Hens
By Teresa Woodard
While French hens like our Cuckoo Maran – or even American ones like our Black Javas – might make great gifts, I’m not convinced December is the ideal time for such gift giving. Yes, these beautiful hens can produce wonderful eggs and rid the garden of weeds and pests. But, here in the Midwest, wintertime is my least favorite season for keeping chickens.
With this November’s early snow fall and cold temperatures, we had to scurry to prepare the coop for winter especially since “our girls” were still growing feathers from their fall molt. We added insulation for warmth and wind-proofing. Plus, we ordered a water heater and had to keep checking the water bucket for the ice until the heater arrived. In addition, we no longer found eggs in their nesting box and learned they take a break from egg-laying until daylight lengthens again to 14 hours or more a day. Still, “our girls” do provide plenty of entertainment, especially on sunny days when we turn them loose in the garden to graze on cover crops and peck for grubs.
Consider a gift certificate for an order of spring chicks, and your true love will be delighted when they arrive in the mail in April. To learn more, see our April 12 post, backyardchickens.com, the chickenchick.com or fresheggsdaily.com.