Most days life on the farm is pretty routine. Head outside around dawn and spend 20-30 minutes opening up coops, fetching water and scooping out the feed. The chickens and pigs are always happy to see me and it’s fun to spend a little “quality” time with them. Of course, to them, I’m just the food guy, but I try not to let that bother me…
However, winter weather can play havoc on the farm and create days that are far from routine and definitely not fun. This has certainly been the case with this latest blast of winter. Don’t know about you, but I am so ready for spring!
I think what made this winter event worse was all the rain we got yesterday afternoon and last night. We had moved our meat birds back out to the chicken tractor earlier in the week and thought everything was ok. Boy, was I wrong! Went outside late yesterday afternoon to find the poor birds soaked to the bone and the ground under them a muddy mess. Of course, being meat birds, most of them were still eating!
My attempt to fix the problem was to hang a couple more tarps, place 2 pallets on the muddy ground with boards set on top (to get them up off the ground) and hang a heat lamp. Did I mention it was pouring down rain while I was doing all this? Anyway, thought I had fixed the problem and everything would be ok. Wrong! Again!
They were still soaking wet and not really getting the idea behind all that I had done for them. Go figure… Anyway, while I was stressing over what to do next, Lynn went out and moved them all into the garage where they spent a warm, dry night. Have to admit, had she not done that, we probably would have been short a few birds this morning. Of course last night all I was thinking about was how big a mess 36, 4-5 pound pooping machines were going to make in the garage. I know, not very caring of me, right? Anyway, thanks to my better half, all survived the night.
This morning we woke to the scene above. All the ice made for it’s own challenges. Had to get hot water just to be able to open gates and get to the chickens in their coop. Once I could get to them, had to change out all their waterers as they were frozen (this is something that has to be done throughout the day when temps are this cold). My normal 20-30 minute routine took about 90 minutes as we also had to move those “pain in the rear” meat birds out of the garage. They’re sharing a covered, outdoor coop with 37 other chicks who were none to happy about sharing their space. Oh well, they’ll get over it.
All in all, just another day in the life of a small farm. Not necessarily fun while in the moment, but it’s a life we’re happily embracing. Stay warm and dry, our animals are!
PS – Forgot to mention the pigs. They don’t seem to care about the weather. Just as long as they get fed!