I wanted desperately to be lazy for a couple days while my hubby was out of town for a guys trip. I dreamt of days spent watching tv and crocheting warm and toasty while it was frigid outside.
Unfortunately having animals means you don’t get to take time off whenever you like and the temps this weekend kept me busy outside.
The snow was so cold and light that it blew everywhere. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I came out to the coops in the morning to find the runs full of snow. Our runs are completely covered with metal roofing so usually if a bit of snow blows in it’s just at the edges. Not this time!
The chickens didn’t want to come out of the henhouses. I turned the hay in the run with a pitchfork then added a fresh layer. This peeked the girls’ interest enough to get them to come out.
We dropped down to -5, and I was really worried about the ducks. They had managed to keep one small section of the pond open by constantly swimming in it but I thought – with temps that low they’ll be popsicles by morning! They weren’t even coming up to the coop to eat. So I brought down a pile of hay for them to lay on to get off the snow and some food. I never saw them leave the water but you could see they’d been in the hay a bit come morning.
Can you even imagine how cold that water must be?!
When it’s that frigid, there are also the eggs to worry about. I collected eggs every few hours on the coldest few days and I still lost some to freezing.
My other big battle this weekend was a huge flock of starlings in the coop. Hundreds of birds in a confined space. It was like being in a horror movie!
At first I shooed then out and closed the doors thinking they’d flown in the large human doors. They came back as soon as I walked away, walking in the chicken door and even managing to get through the cracks near the roof. I couldn’t keep them out. The birds seemed to be looking for water because the heated water bowls in the middle runs were the worst. I must’ve cleaned them out 5x on Saturday. My neighbor suggested loud music might scare them but what seemed most effective was running out and making noise and stashing the water bowls under the henhouse where the starlings couldn’t easily fly up to them. After I figured that out, they left the coop alone within a day. The coldest temps passed too so they probably found water in other places. What a mess. So much poop in, on, and around the coop!
Though I was cursing this nuisance wild bird, I was also appreciating the variety of birds at the feeders up by the house. Everyone was out looking for easy calories to help keep themselves warm in the bitter cold.