We have about 60 laying hens in our chicken coop. Each year from about January 1st - mid-February, our youngest chickens come into their prime-laying age and ability (I'm thinking that's the cause anyway!) and we get dozens of eggs each day.
It's a balmy 9 degrees above zero today, so the outside time is very minimal. We spend just as much time GETTING READY to go outside as we are able to actually spend out there!
In case any of you are wondering -- a good rule of thumb is anything below about 20 degrees ABOVE zero, time needs to be limited to short spurts of about 15-20 minutes, depending on your child, the wind, cover, and common sense! Most preschools don't let children outside when it is less than 20 above.
So, back to the chickens - this is a great way to "be outside" for young kids! If you have a chicken coop, it's always warmer than outside temps. We keep lights in ours running day and night as well as fresh hay for insulating. Now, I don't suggest hanging out in the dusty coop all day, or even for extended periods because of dust and feces, but it's a nice little warm up to extend your short play time! It's also a way to instill "fun" with chores into the kiddos at a young age!
My son loves going to see the "buck bucks!" Or the "chicky!" Since we have an abundance of eggs, we've been collecting twice each day. That means we get to get out and have a little Vitamin D and some chicken fun in spite of the cold weather.
Who knew that chickens could be so fun, even in the middle of winter! Just watching them cluck and buck and be chickens is a daily highlight for the kiddo!