Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mother Nature reminds us it is winter for some time still.

So one of the problems with talking about how mild the winter has been in late January is, there's a lot of winter yet. She heard us, and has delivered the missing winter. We'll see how long it stays, but She seems to be aimed to drop enough snow for us to remember right quick. On the up side, the Critter still loves every moment of snow.

The chickens aren't huge fans of this amount of snow. A few inches they like, but the deep snow is a little concerning for them. The turkey doesn't really care. Part of that of course may be the fact that she can fly from the rabbit hutches up on the hill down to the roof of the chicken coop, and has started doing so every morning instead of walking through the snow. I'm fairly convinced that she has made a significant difference in the safety of our chickens. We've seen fox tracks leading up the hill, and right to the coop. I don't intend to get complacent, and we are likely to lose chickens, but the turkey is definitely a deterrent.
At this point she isn't much larger than the chickens, but she is much more powerful, and very aware of her surroundings. We did lose one chicken recently, unfortunately. The one that got her foot caught in the door must have lost too much blood for the temperature and not have been able to recover. We found her out of the coop dead a couple nights ago. It's an unfortunate thing, but sometimes accidents happen. We've gotten a lot more careful about kicking chickens away from the door when going inside because of that I can say. The chickens are also a little less bold about trying to run inside and put themselves at risk, which helps.
As you can see we still don't have the high banks of snow on either side of the driveway, but that's a good thing in my opinion. We have more snow expected next week, and before then I have an important thing to deal with. Over the summer I had the snowblower professionally serviced, on the theory that I wanted to be sure it would work properly the first time and every time this winter. This is the first snow storm I've not just shoveled this winter because it was deep enough to need it. What ever repairs they did to the snow blower it no longer goes up hill. I had to haul it up, and only clear down the driveway which was more than a little inconvenient. Instead of taking an hour and a half it took three hours, and I ended up having to hand shovel the entire parking area. My entirely mundane house owner chore that is only homesteading related because of the monstrosity of a driveway is, get them to re-repair the snow blower!
On the fun side, the Critter has been greatly enjoying the chickens still. Boris, who you can see in the background behind the Critter's head is a VERY tolerant rooster. As you can see here Critter really wants to pet chickens. The red he's approaching here will let him once or twice once he's fed them. Unfortunately he also wants to pet the rooster, after all, he's the prettiest (to a toddler). The rooster instead of doing what many would do and pecking or spurring him, just walks away and tries to move out of his line of sight. That works out very well for our purposes, and has kept there from being any rooster/toddler conflicts. It's a very good thing given that they're about the same size at this point, though the Critter does have the edge in the weight category.
Last but not least around here, the rabbit hutches are holding up just fine, and even with the snow, when we get through the next week of single digit temperatures, and get some cleaning done in the hutches we're going to get started breeding. I'm hoping that we can stick with things, keep organized, and that I can handle the butchering this year. If we do this right, we will be able to move back to meat being almost entirely from the property, or traded for with other local producers. We'll keep you updated as it happens, good or bad.


  1. Sorry to hear about the dearly departed chicken. At least they have a turkey bodyguard at their disposal!

    1. Thank you for the good wishes. Their turkey bodyguard has been an odd friendship story, but has been very fortuitous.