Okay, it's not as cold as some of you have been having, still... it's been very cold after temps in the 40s and 50s these last two weeks. We had a reminder that it's STILL winter, and still capable of getting very cold.
17 degrees this morning (fahrenheit) and blowing like a son of a gun when I went out to do chores at 6:30. Our sump pump in the well house had spilled water all over the driveway in front of the cars already, and it had frozen into a sheet... so I skirted that carefully. I do NOT rush in the mornings, I don't need to fall in the dark and lay there and freeze and wait for Keith to come out and go to work and find me frozen stiff. I also don't want to take a chance and break something, laying me up for months and having to listen to "Why aren't you more careful?" over and over.
Keith made it home before me, and found something that made us angry. You see, we have gone through 200 lbs. of pellets this week... yes, that's right... 200 lbs. The starlings eat everything I put out, and then go in the big henhouse and literally eat EVERYTHING and drink EVERY DROP OF WATER every single day. Last night, we locked six of them in there because the stupid birds couldn't find their way out. Of course, all water in the outside fortexes and every bit of feed put out was gone. The little henhouse birds, though, still had viable water and plenty of pellets. Here, again, as a reminder, is the little henhouse.
Taken tonight, we got only a smattering of snow here.
As you can see, this henhouse is on stilts, so the birds can go underneath in the summer and get out of the sun. You see it is like an old fashioned henhouse, and the eaves in the front come out over the body of the henhouse, slanting back towards the back. Inside are two roosts, one on either side, and there is a pophole in the front, and two doors in the back for cleanout and egg fishing and feeding.
There is chicken wire in the two windows in the front, and plastic over them for winter. In the back, there is a window with chicken wire and plastic. Normally we run a line to this henhouse and put a red bulb in there for heat. As a matter of fact, the bulb is there and ready to turn on, we are running the line VERY late this year... this weekend.
Back to my point. Somehow the CRAFTY STARLINGS found a way to GET UNDER the EAVES and get INTO the little henhouse which they NEVER do, and the poor birds were trapped with them today. I did not open the little or big popholes... it was 17 degrees this morning but it was blowing gusts up to 30 miles an hour, and I did not want the birds to blow away! The starlings ate every bit of food, pooped all over (as usual) and drank every bit of water in the little henhouse, and the poor birds were trapped. You see, we thought we had outsmarted them... we did not let the birds out on purpose, and also on purpose, we did NOT put any water in the outside fortexes, or any feed outside.
HUGE mistake. The little henhouse flock went without water all day, and it took Keith literally an hour tonight to thaw everything out.... clean up the feeder and waterers... carry feed and water... and then go in the big henhouse and find the feed room waterers (for Butch, Reddy, and the porcelains frozen solid. The heater under the waterer in the coop side was still warm, of course, and with only six starlings in there, everyone had a chance at water at least for a while today.
In the spring things will change, so I keep repeating that as a mantra. The girls will all move to the new henhouse, and possibly the little flock roosters, too. We will make some necessary repairs to the little henhouse, and close off the eaves. It's just so aggravating, though, not to be able to outsmart the darn starlings. Keith is going to put some wire up on the eaves this weekend, but my guess is they'll learn to fly in the pophole. Is NOTHING SACRED????
Here is good old Ranger at the front door tonight, finishing his dinner. The dogs, of course, are inside in this bitter cold, and only got to go out long enough to eat without being pestered by the pugs, and go to the bathroom. Then it was back in to the warm living room for both Ranger and Lilly.
He likes to eat laying down.
Here are some animals that are not minding the cold too much, but we noticed that last night in the blowing wind, they hunkered down on the south end of the pasture, where they could tuck themselves down in and avoid a lot of the wind. This morning in the dark I couldn't see them anywhere... and called them to come and eat... Tony came cantering up out of the darkness, followed by Azzie, and then Inca, whom you can hardly see without light. I put hay just inside the barn front, and the girls like to lay there and pick at it with the barn keeping the wind off their backs. You see tough Tony eating out of the Hay Buffet.
We have a night of 12 degree temps predicted, and then by Saturday, it will start going up again. After the last two brutal winters, I am okay with a lighter one. Next winter I will be home to take care of everything during the day, and Keith won't have to hurry and try to stop for lunch and do chores, too.
Hannah is doing much better, by the way, and laying here at my feet snoring away. The swelling around the eye area that was so big last week has subsided, and now the stitches are bristly and probably bother her a little when she sleeps on that side. They'll either be absorbed or removed soon, when we go back to see Dr. Tom again. Her appetite is good, and other bodily functions are working great, so I am overjoyed that she is doing so well.