Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Single digits

Our first single digit temperature of the new year, and unsurprisingly for that kind of temperature things aren't as simple as when it isn't bone chillingly cold. First of all, rabbit water is frozen to the point of being undrinkable within about 10 minutes, and is frozen solid within less than an hour. That's meant that I was up late, and early both making sure that the rabbits got enough time at water. That of course means that by morning when I've gotten 4 hours total sleep I'm a little fuzzy mentally, but not so fuzzy I didn't notice that there were some other things after the sun came up.

The black turkey as you may notice isn't with the other poultry. He didn't roost in the tree with the brown turkey either, which was a bit concerning. I was trying to collect him some of the times I was out during the night around Midnight and 2 AM watering the rabbits. He was just alert enough that I couldn't get to him without spooking him, or getting both of us hurt, so I left him where he was. He'd picked under one of the rabbit hutches to curl up and sleep, where he seemed comfortable. I figured he'd perk up in the morning. This morning he was just sitting in the sun curled up and mostly asleep and I was more concerned. By that point I'd expected him to be up and about, and he wasn't acting normal. Of course as soon as I tried to collect him and move him to the coop he bolts off into the woods. For the time being we had to go to work, but we're going to be keeping a close eye on him and thanks to the advice of Jenna Woginrich from Cold Antler Farm when we have a chance we're going to get some warm water down him, hopefully with some medications mixed into it. Before we left we made sure there were a few patches of food and plenty of warm water available.
One of the things that's true about winter is that there's plenty of snow around, and while the turkeys certainly can get water from the seeps, that cold water has a consequence. When it's cold and you drink cold water, your body has to produce more heat to compensate for the cold water. Due to that, we try to provide water to the animals at as warm a temperature as we can manage. Not hot enough to burn for sure, but warm enough that they aren't having work at it so hard. Hopefully that will be enough to help the black turkey, and tonight he's back in the trees with his buddy. If not I'm going to just have to grab him carefully and get him into the coop. Fortunately it is going to be warmer I think.
On a personal note, I am frustrated that our mailbox got wiped out by our first snow. It wasn't even really a snow of course, it was ice pellets, but somehow with so little on the ground, the plow took out our mail box. It's easily enough fixable normally, but I'm a little grouchy at having to fix it with our ice field that's too solid for me to step through. On the up side, Yak Trax are a great tool that make this all doable. Here's looking forward to it warming up at least a little from the single digits temperatures.

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