We hadn’t quite finished the winter palace as of the previous post. Dan managed to do that this weekend. He used additional bales of mulch hay to close off most of the open end of the Palace, leaving an entrance area and a viewing window for us to check things out.
The hay is stacked and held in place with some spare pieces of rebar (handy stuff, that rebar) driven through the bale into the ground, making the hay bale end wall more stable.
To discourage egg laying in the Palace, we leave their food in their nearby coop, hanging near the nest boxes, handy for snacking while laying an egg. The water is also in their coop, on a heater to keep it unfrozen. Just in case, the hay bales are set inside the dome, making it possible to lift the dome with the handle to add straw, adjust the roost pole, or (we hope not), collect eggs some foolish chicken laid in the Palace.
The weather has changed since that balmy fall day when we put the Palace together. Sunday night the temps got down to 6°F, and the day time temps were not much warmer with a chilly breeze. This gives the girls a warm place out of the wind, but until the snow flies, they are often seen ranging throughout their area. Once the snow is on the ground, they will spend their days in the dome or in the coop.