Monday, March 03, 2014

Chickens (not) in the snow

Chickens are pretty tough. Ours don't like snow, but they don't seem to be a bit bothered by the cold. Of course, we close them in their coop when the temps plunge down into single digits or below zero--it's usually around 45 degrees in there. But the other day when the sun came out and it "warmed up" to the mid-twenties, they came right out and were cruising around the yard.

We've heard stories that chickens that are bored start attacking each other. So on the days when they are, um, cooped up all day, I try to take them something interesting to eat for entertainment. Interesting is in the eye of the chicken, though-- they love any kind of bread or certain leftovers.

It is dang difficult to get all five of them in one shot-- but see the fifth one over in the mini-door?
Here they are earlier this week when it was about 2 degrees above zero--the red light is their heat lamp
We haven't been getting as many eggs, though, usually one or two per day. They're almost two years old now, so they are due to start slowing down on the laying anyway. It will be interesting to see this spring if their production increases. Dean is pushing to get 2-3 new pullets when they have them at our local livestock store in a few weeks. He wants blue eggs (these all lay brown eggs).

We've also had visitors to the feeder that is inside the chicken yard fence, but not inside the coop. The only sign is footprints in the snow. One set we're pretty sure are pheasant. I tried to get a shot with chicken prints and pheasant prints in the same picture so you could see the size comparison, but it's been so cold this week the chickens have barely poked their heads out of the coop.

Sadie's foot print for size comparison--these are way too small to be chicken prints, probably pheasant?
Then a few days ago there was something new. I have no idea what this is--maybe a mouse or vole, dragging its tail behind it? Whatever. We are happy to feed the local wildlife. (this is a terrible picture, I hope you can see the little footprints--click to enlarge. that's my footprint off to the left for size comparison.)

Anybody know what would make this kind of print?
And here is the picture from our deck about an hour ago--the same shot that I've posted several times in spring and summer with the pond and the mountains in the background. The white dots, of course, are falling snow. It doesn't look like much in this picture unless you know that poor Dean had shoveled off the deck about an hour before I took this picture. Ahhh, winter--you can go away now.

So, you can see why we are sincerely hoping that March has come in like a lion so it can go out like a lamb. We've had about enough. When we get back from our weekend away, I will post a picture a green-filled picture for contrast. I hope. :-)

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