Brr…Still Cold Out There

Everyone_Barn_WinterIt’s snowing – lightly now, but it’s supposed to pick up this evening. There’s a very chilly breeze, which is the really unpleasant part; spend any time out there without a balaclava, and you’ll be sorry.

We had noticed that the duck coop was looking poopy, so we took advantage of the weather to clean out old straw bedding and replace it. Helpfully, the wet duck poop had frozen into solid chunks that were easy to identify and pull out. While raking around in the bedding, we found a frozen duck egg that had been buried. Bummer. We left a nice, thick, dry layer of bedding so the ducks would be comfortable tonight, even if the temperatures dip.

We also put more straw bedding out in the barn, where the chickens and ducks congregate during the day. The chickens immediately got to work scratching it up and spreading it around. The straw provides a warmer place for the ducks and chickens to nap…and on days like this, it seems a sensible thing to do.

When we refreshed the water this afternoon, Ty decided he was going to splash out all the water from the pail (the pail is too small for them to get into) trying to “bathe”. Once his lengthy bath was complete, he decided to leave the barn’s shelter, and his feathers quickly froze. Silly drake! We got more warm water to refill the pail so there would be drinking water for the barn’s denizens. No more baths, please. The ducks have been more cooperative than usual about going into their coop in the evening, probably because it’s cozier in there than in the barn. We’re not complaining – trying to get ducks (and chickens) into their coops can be like trying to “herd cats”.

Ava_Warm_WaterAs we’ve previously mentioned, the rabbits also appreciate warm water on cold days. Ava, the white NZ doe, eagerly awaits the water and she starts drinking it as soon as the crock is set down. You can imagine her saying “ahhhh”. The rabbits have straw in their tote bin shelters inside their tractors to help keep them warm, but they seem to handle the cold very well. They also have extra hay to supplement their pellets, and get cabbage, carrots, kale, or apple pieces periodically since there’s not much edible grass now.

As the snow drifts down, flakes floating lazily to earth, we’re reminded that this is what winter is about. Yes, it’s cold, but there’s beauty in it – the crimson cardinals stand out like bright Christmas ornaments, and they’re everywhere. The landscape, while lovely with its rolling hills, is even lovelier with a gentle blanket of snow – all the hard edges are softened. So, for today, let it snow! We already got our milk and bread, so we’re ready.

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