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Winklepleck keeps her chickens happy, even in cold weather conditions

Fran Brownell
Pratt Tribune
Kaidee Winklepleck of rural Cullison enjoys a cuddle with Cloud, her favorite Silver Sex Link chicken. Kaidee, daughter of Roy and Heather Winklepleck, tends a flock of 16 hens and a rooster at the family homestead, gathering 9-12 farm fresh eggs daily.  Recent cold temperatures have created a challenge for her flock.

Pratt County 4-H Pioneer Club member Kaidee Winklepleck is facing a new challenge in caring for her chickens as local temperatures plunged to artic level this past weekend.

“Even their heated water dish froze up,” Kaidee said.

Eleven-year-old Kaidee, daughter of Roy and Heather Winklepleck, has charge of a brood of 16 hens and a rooster who are housed in a 12X12-foot fenced coup at the family homestead south of Cullison.

“Luckily, only a couple of eggs have frozen,” said Kaidee, who often brings some of the hens into the family home, not because of weather conditions, but just to enjoy their company.

“Last April, Kaidee told us she wanted chickens,” Kaidee’s mom said. “We were surprised, but her mind was made up about chickens.”

“I saw chickens on my i-Pad and I wanted them for a long time,” Kaidee said.

Kaidee’s brood of 16 hens and a rooster make their home in a 12x12 coop that her paternal granddad LeRoy Winklepleck provided.

Kaidee’s parents started her out with four chicks and her maternal Grandma Vicki Lutz added to the flock, as did other friends.

Currently Kaidee’s flock includes four breeds of chickens—Barred Rocks, Americaunas, Silver Sex Link and Red Sex Link.

The hens are layers and Kaidee helps gather nine to 12 eggs each morning.

”It’s taught her responsibility,” her mom said. “I post about the eggs on Facebook and there are always quick takers for farm fresh eggs.”

Funds from the eggs help pay for the flock’s upkeep with any profits kept separately.

After school, Kaidee checks in with her feathered friends, often bringing some of the brood into the family home to enjoy their company.

Kaidee, a member of the Pratt Pioneer’s 4-H Club, also takes responsibility for feeding the flock and helping keep their coop clean.

Why chickens? What triggered Kaidee’s love affair with the cluckers and crower?

“I like it that they’re nice and I can put food in my hand and they will peck it right off,” Kaidee said.

“She’s a lover of all animals, but her chickens have first place in her heart,” said Kaidee’s mom. “Getting Kaidee’s chickens is one good thing that has happened during COVID.”

Kaidee’s enthusiasm for her chickens seems to be shared by her mom.

“I think I enjoy them just as much as Kaidee does,” Heather Winklepleck said.