Thursday, January 7, 2016

Poultry on ice.

It's still very cold out there, and our poultry are for the most part doing well. The black tom is another story that I'll get to in a moment. The liquid water that we have around the property even when it's in single digits whether due to the seeplands North of the house, or the drainage ditch, or even the french drains under the parking area are important congregation spots for the poultry worth even dealing with braving the way up the icy slope, or the enthusiasm of the dog.

As you can see here our Rooster on days that aren't absolutely awful has been actually making a point of coming up and supervising his hens. He isn't particularly a fan of the cold weather despite his Russian heritage. I wonder if not going outside is one of their survival tactics.
Either way, between the turkeys and the rooster nothing has been bothering the poultry as they bask in what ever sun they can find up at the top of the slope. One of the things that was pointed out to me is the other reason they have been spending as much time up there as they can is that there is more wind protection up there. From the North and East, that area is fully protected from the wind by being sheltered by both the ridge line and the thick copses of evergreens. Westerly winds would still affect them at the top of the ridge, but those aren't as big of a problem. Between that wind shelter, and the light in that location it makes a lot of sense that they spend most of their time up there rather than down at the coop by the driveway. It reinforces that I want to move them permanently up to that side of the house next year.
On the note of the black Tom, we're not sure if he's going to make it. I managed to capture him this morning with 20 minutes of careful approaching, some bruises, a few dislocated bones in my left hand, and being pecked a bit. Thankfully I wear tough clothing so he didn't scratch me up enough to notice. For all that when I left he was huddled un-moving in the corner of the coop. I hope that with warm water, and oily food he'll pull through. We left the door open so his brown friend can get in to him. It may have been a mistake, but I hope she'll go in and help keep him warm. I'll keep folks updated on his status.

I've joked that I'm going to make sure that the Critter is "doing his part" to work around the homestead sooner rather than later. For all that though, he has been already starting to help out in his own way. Children at this point in their life around 1 year old, they learn through play. That's going to be true for some time. For him feeding the poultry is play. It's not a thing I expect him to do as a chore, as a responsibility. It's a game, a thing he loves to do. By making that part of what he does around the house a game for him that he enjoys he's getting not only experience of doing things, he's getting experiences in the world. If he keeps enjoying the work around the farm he will continue to learn. I really love the idea of him learning from enjoyable work around the homestead all of the skills that I've been having to work to pick up much later in life. If he is outside for things he enjoys year round helping he'll have a much better understanding of the cycle of seasons and the land than I ever will.
Last for today, it was beautiful out yesterday morning, so I managed to get a couple nice shots to share just for the artsy of it. I particularly liked this one of the fast flowing water amid the frozen grasses on a 1 degree morning.


  1. The cold can be hard. I'm sorry to hear about the black tom. Looking forward to your updates and praying for his total healing.

    1. Thank you for your prayers. We'll see how he does. He was hanging in there this evening, though not looking particularly good.