January 13, 2016

Chickens, ducks, eggs and some serious cold

I read all over the place that chickens will avoid snow like the plague. With the cold temps and snow on the ground, I was worried about the girls being stuck in the run for a while so I put down a good thick layer of straw to give them something to scratch at and lay in until they can get out again. 

We have still been opening the door to let them free range though. The first day they all stood in the doorway watching the snow fall. On the second day, one brave girl came out, but stuck close to the run, picking in the rocks around the edge. 

Now that it's been a few days, more birds are venturing out. They are still staying close to their house but seem to be adjusting to this cold white stuff covering the ground. 

Now there are chicken prints all about in the snow.

Another part of this cold is that we have to collect eggs several times throughout the day so they don't freeze. We are so lucky because our lovely retired neighbor is willing to come over on his tractor and collect the eggs for us a couple times a day when we can't be home. 

Yesterday I went out to lock the ducks in their house and found them up on the hill by the railroad tracks.  What a weird place for ducks!  I went up on the tracks and tried to shoo them down but they kept getting their little feet stuck under branches and leaves on the hill.  Ducks are not designed for mountain climbing!  Eventually Josh had to come out too and help me get them. 

Today I decided to leave the ducks in their pen and just gave them food and water.  Josh is gone so I didn't want to have the ducks stuck somewhere and not be able to get them. It was so very cold. This morning the news said it was -9 with wind chill. That's definitely cold enough for a duck's feet to get frost bitten. At least in their home they have dry bedding to lay in and a break from the wind. 

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