Thursday, February 11, 2016
Bracing for cold amid snow.
It's continued snowing on and off for the past few days. The kid and the dog love it, the rest of us, not so thrilled. The up side about the snow is that if it's snowing it's not bitter cold. That's going to be changing shortly. We're expecting temperatures to drop into single digits over the weekend. Fortunately we're going to be home, but I'm concerned about the animals that are outside with highs in the singles, and lows in the negative double digits.
For the time being since we're getting regular snow over and over the car has been living at the bottom of the driveway because I don't have sufficient hours of light to be shoveling the driveway a couple hours a day. The up side to this is, the Critter LOVES sledding up and down the driveway to the car. He thinks this is the best thing ever. Sometimes things like that work out, and challenges end up being a real positive for at least someone.
The challenge is that he doesn't want to come inside even when he's cold. As you can see, he also refuses to keep his hat on despite the temperatures. We try to have the Critter outside every day for at least 10 minutes for lots of reasons. When we're in the single digits that probably isn't going to happen if we can't get him to keep his hat and gloves on though.
While the temperatures are in the single digits I'm going to be doing water rotations constantly for the rabbits, and bringing warm water out to the chickens as often as possible. The one I'm worried about is the turkey overnighting in the trees. My choices are, make sure she gets all the warm water and good food we can give her, or try to catch her and bring her inside. The catch her and bring her inside choice is a real challenge. She runs fast, and is VERY Alert to things being not as normal. Trying to herd her has always been harder than herding the tom. That very alertness is part of why she's so good at keeping the chickens safe. Given the stress associated with trying to herd her inside, and her independence I'm planning to leave her outside unless she ends up showing the first signs of being sick at which point, she comes inside no matter how long it takes me to get her in. I don't want to lose her the same way we lost the tom. Learning experiences and all. I suspect that behavior wise we'll see the chickens mostly inside their coop to conserve warmth. For that reason I'm going to be putting water both in and outside the coop. Outside for them and the turkey both, inside to help keep the coop a few degrees warmer. The rabbits are going to mostly stay in wind sheltered area, and on shelves. Fortunately all of our does are in pairs which gives them someone to shelter with for warmth. The bucks are on their own, so they'll have a rougher time, but their hutches are solid and for the most part well sheltered. Herbie's in the most un-sheltered position. If I can get Dawn's hutch cleaned out and patched before the real cold I'll move him there. Otherwise I'm going to try to put something to give him a little extra heat and shelter. We'll let you know how it turns out on Tuesday.
Brace for weather, cold is less work, but more urgent than snow. Here it comes.