And We’re Off!


Guess it really IS winter now. We had a beautiful snowfall all morning – and then a real drop in temperatures this afternoon. I’m glad we put up this wind break. It works really well for the jennies to be able to use their outside feeders.

Especially as these two ragamuffins took over their inside feed room. They stayed tucked down in the bedding for most of the afternoon.

Then when I tucked them into their own sleeping quarters they both stayed under the heat lamp. Those airplane ears easily get nipped on these frigid days and nights. This is the view through our ‘Nanny Cam’. 😉 They were perfectly still – MayMay just resting her head against Dottie.

The Orpingtons were holding their own – health-wise – again today. Norman is missing Charlie … but he is doing a good job of looking after the hens. I saw him find and share a peanut. That is a first. Up to this point he was in ‘every man for himself’ mode. Now he has responsibilities.

The two Isabelles are especially fond of him.

These two – Hen Sulu and Chewbawka – have really become more outgoing since they’ve landed in this group of six. They spent the last year skirting the edge of the flock whenever I was around. Now they find themselves at the top of the pecking order …

Princess (above) was one of their hatch mates. The three of them are forming their own clique again. Out of the six Princess is the one with some lingering sneezing and the occasional wheeze. She and the Isabelles (and Audrey and Charlie – who are now gone) were the ones we were dosing three times a day with Tetracycline. I’m still wondering whether I squirted her dose down her windpipe… She improved the most when I just stopped trying to make her take an eyedropper of medicine.

I am watching closely how these guys do with this cold weather coming through. They have heat lamps and wall heaters … which seem to be keeping the temperature above -10’C. I’m sure it is above freezing when they perch near the red lamps. The vet advised trying to keep them warm to allow them to fight off the problems that took their flock mates. So far … so good.

I broke up a straw bale in the Brahma coop to keep them occupied today. They love breaking down the flakes.

Don’t Beau and Bessie look beautiful? Beau’s original farm had expressed an interest in taking him back for their breeding program. However, with the outbreak of respiratory problems here … I’m thinking he’ll likely stay with us.

He and Bram will just have to come to an understanding – and make their territory work. One thing this past while has taught me is that we have LOTS of space to rearrange groups of birds if we need to.

With -20’C temperatures arriving tomorrow – and with the Brahma coop open to the air all around – I decided to put a heat lamp into their run. They can opt to soak it up – or just stay beyond it. They are a hardy bird. I always struggle with this decision … I know they can do okay in frigid temperatures. But I also know they are more comfortable when it is somewhere between -10’C and just above freezing. Much below that and the roosters can have real trouble with frostbitten wattles. So when the temperatures go below -15’C I turn the lamps on.

A week ago I found an egg in their sleeping room. I thought it had to be from the other flock – and that I had carried it into this space when I added straw. This morning I found that in fact … there IS a Brahma hen laying. My bets are on Willow. She has a bright red comb now. So I’ve jazzed up the nesting box and added three ‘wooden’ eggs to give her an idea about where to leave hers. I also added a second perch as I realized they were ‘threading’ themselves onto the single one each night. They would each step through the door – walk along the plank – and then settle. Woe be the bird who tried to move. If Willow is going to use the nesting box she will need to get up and down. And the others will need enough space to let her. That led to a few renovations this evening. And again – a heating lamp. Each egg I’ve found in here was frozen solid.

Ede and I headed out after breakfast this morning … came in for a quick lunch … and then I didn’t make it back in until dinner time. It was a GREAT day! I got to spend time with every group and critter. I finished my ‘To Do’ list. AND had time to take some pictures. A diamond day in my book.

Stay safe everyone!

2 comments on “And We’re Off!”

  1. I’m glad your flock seems to be holding their own. I recently looked up freezing eggs for future use. We don’t eat that many eggs, but I like to have them on hand for baking. The directions said to break the eggs, mix to break the yolk and freeze in greased muffin tin. After frozen, place in freezer bag. So, after all that, I bet you can eat that frozen egg! 😁. Good luck in the deep freeze that’s coming your way.

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