Will Winter Ever Settle in?

Has this not been the strangest, wettest year in ages?

I’m beginning to wonder if winter will ever settle in to stay.  We had several weeks of temps down in the 20’s and had to switch over to our winter mode for the chickens and ducks.  When it’s that cold, we have to drain the waterers and start hauling water out to heated water bowls.  Initially, we were caught off guard because the weather got so cold so quickly.  We hadn’t filled up a tank to keep in the workshop, so we had to carry water out from the house.  I was over that in a day or two!  It’s a long walk across the yard carrying two full 5-gallon buckets…

The pond began to freeze over too.  The ducks swam all day in one half of it, keeping the water open.

The ducks still slept outside by the pond.  They didn’t seem to mind the cold; they just piled up together at the water’s edge and tucked their heads back between their wings.  In the mornings, the snow was all melted where they had lain but the pond was skimmed over with ice.

When it’s below freezing, I have to race to find duck eggs in the mornings before they freeze solid.  The eggs in the coop don’t freeze as quickly as these ones laying directly on the ground.  I’d say I manage to save about half the ducks eggs before they freeze.

That period of cold passed, though.  Then it was like spring – warmer and wet.  So back we switched to the large built-in waterers that feed from the rainwater collection system.  Then it got cold again, so we emptied the waterers and switched to the heated bowls…

Now it’s warm again but we are in it for the long haul with the water bowls.  We decided to just leave the watering system winterized and pray that true winter will actually settle in sometime soon.  I’m tired of mud!  Bring on some snow!

No more hauling water up from the house though…  Before we closed everything down again, we moved one of the giant water totes inside and used the pump to fill it with rainwater from the outside system.  Now we just have to carry those buckets from the workshop to the coop – much easier!

What’s the weather been like where you live this year?  How has it affected life with your animals?


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