It’s still frosty here, and the chickens refuse to leave the coop. In warmer weather, they would queue up at the pop door, waiting impatiently for it to open…and then they would burst out, pushing each other down the ramp. We spread scratch around outside the coop, and they’d scratch and peck contentedly. The ducks would soon join them, bobbing their heads in greeting.
Now, even the ducks don’t want to come out of their coop and walk through the snow. We have to herd them out and into the barn, where warm water awaits them. They don’t like being herded and they don’t make it easy, but once they realize there’s food and liquid water, they’re happy campers. Not as happy as when it’s a big muddy mess out, but there’s lots of tail-wagging. Yes, Muscovies wag their tails! They also don’t quack much; instead, they trill and hiss. And they also do a social head-bobbing “dance” of sorts that’s quite fascinating to watch.
The cold continues to pose its challenges, but we know it won’t last forever – in fact, it’s supposed to reach a high of 50 degrees tomorrow. That should be warm enough to at least begin melting the ducks’ wading pool, which is now a block of ice. And melting snow should make things squishy and muddy – just the way the ducks like it. And if it does warm up, the chickens will leave the coop and go about their regular business, foraging for bugs and other edibles. Our free range animals are ready to range again…once the snow’s gone.