07 March, 2014

Cold Food

My poor chickens. They have to be one of the dumbest birds God created which makes sense; they need us to take care of them. We've never had chickens in snowy weather before & learned some things. The snow blinds them somehow. They can't make out any landmarks & can't figure out how to get back to their shed, or the stream for water, so they just hunker down. We didn't know any better the first snow, the second we called them in as soon as it started & they gratefully went in.
But they didn't go in far enough. We also learned that if they're used to sleeping in the open that's where they'll stay. We do have a smaller enclosure w/ solid walls that will fit them all that they can go in for protection, but most of them did not. Only the chickens on the bottom of the pecking order who are used to roosting in there went. Most stayed out in some serious cold w/ wind close to 0 deg. one night.
I put the water in the smaller enclosed area to keep it thawed longer but also figured out pretty quick that they couldn't find it. The tea kettle went out 3x a day. The pictures are showing the frost bite. I call the blond/ black eyed rooster Billy Idol. He's literally got frosted tips on his comb teeth. The white rooster behind him has already lost the teeth on his comb & looks unnaturally smooth.

The wattles, hens, & rose combs were all spared, but laying went off for a good 3 weeks. We're in an egg deluge & I'm preserving them at the moment for sitting season. I talked to a few people who lost birds, so we're grateful to have been spared that & have added to our snow SOP.

No comments: