The Big Freeze

Obviously, frigid temps mean that precautions have to be taken to keep the goats and chicken safe and sound.  We brought the goats into the barn when the pasture had frozen and they needed to be on pure hay.  They were upset by the move, but are very happy to have a new place to explore and some chicken companions.  Two adjoining stalls house the chickens, and the goats are in a third stall.  On days with above freezing temps, we open the three stalls into the fenced inner “yard”.   Probably the biggest consideration for winter is the need to keep water from freezing.  Both chicken stalls have metal heater bases that the metal waterers sit on top of.  The goats have a floating heater in their water crock.     

Despite our precautions, poor Jethro, our rooster, froze part of his comb and wattles.  The damage is more extensive on the wattles. The frostbitten parts are turning black.  Eventually, these will fall off but we are monitoring for infection.  There seems to be a lot of conflicting information about the risk of infection.  Also, the frostbite may cause temporary infertility.  It is supposed to be very painful, but he is feeling well enough to act normally.  I hope he is not in a lot of pain, but I imagine he is.  It is a very common winter affliction and it is supposed to be worst the first winter.

We are continuing to get about a dozen eggs per day.  We also have White Pants back on a nest of eggs.  She has been brooding since Dec 2.  Who knows if she will got he distance or whether she will be successful, but she is resolute.  She should have about a week to go.   She has had as many as 8, but some have disappeared and she has 5 now.

Here are some winter farm pictures: