Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Season Brings Cold Weather

The holiday season brings beautiful poinsettias but with them comes a big drop in outside temperatures.

Outside, the dogs water dish is frozen solid.

My two Malinois find their water in the upstairs shower.

My aviary is attached to the back wall of my double car garage and is about 500 square feet and has two sky lights and double windows on the west and south. It is cooled and heated with a heat pump unit built in below the south window. Because the room is well insulated and the floor is concrete it maintains some consistency in temperature regardless of the outside temperature.

When temperatures are as low as 20 degrees F overnight, the aviary temperature drops to about 48 degrees F. As the day temperature rise to 30 degrees F, the aviary temperature reaches around 53 degrees F. Birds thrive at these temperatures making heating unnecessary. I just add some extra calories from oatmeal and some sunflower pieces with their bread and they look great!

Last night most of Kansas was covered in a blanket of snow. Although we missed the blizzard, temperatures here took a huge drop to about 7 degrees F with highs today being predicted at low 20's and low tonight may approach zero. It is only when temperatures get this low outside that I turn on some heat. I try to set the heating so that the low is around 48 and the warm sun will continue to heat it up to the low - mid fifties in the day time. As soon as the cold spell breaks, I will turn the heat off again and keep it off till I am ready to for the hens to begin breeding.

When I look at the trees outside my window, they are budded and somewhat confused that it is not Spring yet. Some breeders are reporting their birds are starting to lay eggs even with winter approaching. These eggs are likely to be infertile.

From my hens activity level, I think breeding season will be early this year. But keeping the aviary cool will prevent the hens from prematurely laying eggs before reaching full breeding condition.

Note: If you have an ALDI grocery store in your area, if its like the ones in Wichita, tomorrow morning at opening their will be more fantastic quality 6.5 inch potted poinsettias for about $4 each..

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