Celeste's Chickens
Celeste Longacre


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When you are as busy as I am in the spring, summer and fall, winter is a time to recoup, restore and rest in the dark nights and short days.

Last winter, however, it began snowing the day after Christmas and continued every three days for about six weeks. These were big, powerful storms that often took a couple of days to clean up. No sooner would we have all the paths and driveway clear, then it would snow again. It was exhausting.

So this winter (even though we got a 20 inch storm in October) we weren’t disappointed that the snow was staying away. My husband and I have actually been sleeping some ten hour nights. This might concern me if it hadn’t been two years since we actually caught a break.

Today the snow came. This morning, when I opened the coop door, my chickens looked out and decided to pass on the exit plan. Chickens don’t like to step out into the snow. So I cut up a pumpkin and dropped it around the coop. This gives them something to do other than peck at each other. Later, I hung part of a cabbage for them to peck.


Then I got out my shovel, dusted it off, sprayed it with cheap non-stick cooking spray and went to work (I keep the shovel in an outbuilding so that it stays cold).

Luckily, we only got about three inches of snow. We like to shovel a courtyard in front of our door so that we don’t feel hemmed in by the snow. The path to the coop was next and, when I was sure that the snow was done, I cleared a courtyard for the hens. Then I put down fresh hay to entice the girls outside. This keeps their feet dry and they also like to nibble at the seeds. Once again, happy chickens!

And, just because…

About This Blog

Celeste Longacre has been growing virtually all of her family’s vegetables for the entire year for over 30 years. She cans, she freezes, she dries, she ferments & she root cellars. She also has chickens. Celeste has also enjoyed a longtime relationship with The Old Farmer’s Almanac as their astrologer and gardens by the Moon. Her new book, “Celeste’s Garden Delights,” is now available! Celeste Longacre does a lot of teaching out of her home and garden in the summer. Visit her web site at www.celestelongacre.com for details.

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Wintering Chickens

This is my first winter with chickens and I find myself doing the same thing here in Kentucky but moreso this year when the run gets muddy. I've been using straw- recycled from a local church's parade float- to help keep their feet dry but the hay seems better for their "scrat-and-search" habit. I also noticed the sawdust on the floor, do you find this better than straw? Great article.


Hi John Henry,
I agree that the hay is great for their "scratch-and-search" habit. The floor in our coop is covered with wood chips (not sawdust). It's cheaper than hay so it can be recycled quite often. I don't take it all out (except once a year) because there is a nice, delicate dance between the fly larvae and their predators. The poop under the roosts tends to stay on top and, when I replace it, the girls seem to like to scratch it around. In the spring, everything comes out for a good scrubbing.


+ a 4-season guide to raising chickens!

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