There is enough snow to make the chickens content to sit around and roost and sleep away the day. They keep in close contact with each other and the hen house, roosting on the outdoor perches catching afternoon sunshine. They do go out on short forays but with daytime high temperature of 7 degrees the third real cold night expected to continue.
If you have healthy birds that have a place to be dry and out of the weather, I like to use at least a foot of straw on the floor and in the nest boxes. I don’t feed layer mash at all so their bodies are not taxed by laying eggs because they are dormant so they are able to deal with cold temperatures easily.
The young birds, this years hatchling yeild is 3 hens and a cockerel who I will harvest around Christmas. I wish I knew how to make a capon out of him and keep him until he is more full sized and bigger bodied.
I know it used to be more common in the past do that kind of stuff at home, I have seen some instruction videos but, I don’t know if I could do it without having some first hand knowledge first.
But it would give you a much bigger heritage bird specifically for eating. The deal with that is the expense of feeding a soft fat bird who temperamentally is docile and more hen like in nature. Eliminates fighting and injuries with breeding rooster.
A capon by definition is “a castrated domestic cock fattened for eating”. That’s what makes heritage birds make more sense. Don’t get me wrong, I love fresh fried young rooster but imagine a fresh tender heritage chicken that is twice the size and twice as tender. So instead of 6 months to harvest heritage breed vs the capon harvest at 12 months, even 18 months.. (store bought chickens 6 weeks old)
Because as delicious as I find fresh young homegrown chickens that are seasonal Heritage Chicken breeds they can be pretty tough. There’s ways to slow down and stop that rigidity when you process the birds. I’ll cover that as it happens. But free range chickens get daily exercise so their legs can be pretty chewy. The flavor will make store bought birds not worth buying and keeping meat as the luxury meal it is.
I have been teaching myself daily forms of daily bread projects. I’m learning a lot and it’s awesome. The chickens love eating all the inedible failures and leftovers.