Thursday, December 17, 2015

When You're Cold They're Cold?

Whomever came up with the saying "When you're cold, they're cold" obviously never had sheep. We had what so far for this Winter is a rather rare frosty morning today. The water tanks without heaters in them had a pretty good amount of ice on top so it must have gotten down into the 20's at least to freeze em over that much in a few hours. The muddy ground still had a little give to it but had frozen over with a good hard crust for walking that only cracked when my full weight was on it.

The sheep absolutely love these kind of mornings.

As soon as I open the gate to the West pasture they take off running and bucking and jumping up and flopping around like a hooked trout trying to throw the line. Foggy breath billowing up into the air and they head straight for the hay ring which is now eaten down far enough that the bold ones climb up on top to munch in a superior position to their comrades on the ground.

There's another old expression that fits most of the rowdy yearlings out there.....

"More full of crap than a Christmas Turkey"

There ain't nothing more sure of itself than a yearling whether in late December. To them the world is their oyster and they don't have a care at all.

If they only knew.

To be honest by this stage of the game I actually have begun getting a little attached to them myself. I do a good job of ignoring the lefties as I call em since I tag all the boys in the left ear but there are always a couple who manage to stand out enough or get familiar enough to make me feel a little guilty about this stage of the game.

So in other news. The little night light idea seems to be working. The last two nights instead of nine hens running around in the barn well after dark I now have only three and they are actually just roosting on the ground. The other six go into the coop now because of the light. I go down about an hour or so after full dark and pick up the three still out and put them in the coop then turn off the light and close the door. Well I try and pick up the three on the ground. Last night one of them decided to bed down with the sheep. She was snuggled right in between two ewes in the Blue Faced ram's stall so I just left her there. I was worried they might roll over on her but I was more worried they might trample her if I went in there and they thought I was bringing them food. So I decided to let sleeping chickens lie so to speak. She was waiting for me this morning and seemed just fine.

Yesterday we only got eight eggs which typically so far with the 30 hens we been averaging 12 to 14 eggs a day. My guess was that they had found a new hiding spot. So this morning while I was scooping out grain into the buckets I noticed one of the Barred Rock hens on the ladder to the hay loft. Sure enough I watched her hop up each step until she reached the top and disappeared into the stacked hay up there. We got about 150 bales up there as I haven't begun feeding out of the loft yet so after all the other chores were finished I went up looking and found her hidden stash.

Damned sneaky hens.

The rain we got really settled in the new fence posts I put in the ground last week. We are suppose to warm up again by Sunday so I am thinking I can install the horizontal supports early next week and then begin working on the next batch of posts and get rid of the last line of electric fence I got up. At this rate I might just get the East pasture opened up for he sheep by Spring now.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!


  1. Ah, hens and their need to stash the eggs somewhere secret! But soon ours will be in their 'proper' pen, with a 'proper' chicken house for them to sleep in. But they will be let out on to the farm during the afternoon so they can stretch their legs and be properly free range. This might be our downfall with trying to organise the egg laying habits!

  2. You will find that chickens don't get cold with all of those feathers, as long as they can get out of the wind at night, they should do good but in severe cold, you might want to put a light bulb in there.
    They way your hens like to hide eggs, I suspect that in the spring they will try to sit and hatch some. I built a small box with ventilation and a hinged door and when a hen is in the full brooding trance, they can be put in there with the eggs and mine will stay and hatch chicks. I open the door during the day as they may go off the nest once a day to eat and drop a large nasty turd. When it is close to hatching time I will put a cup of water and some food in the box as they don't like to leave the box as much then. The idea is to keep the hen protected from the other hens along with the young chicks. Chicks raised by a hen are more advanced than store bought ones, really different.

  3. Preppy, I know for quail they say they can get down to near freezing so long as they have protection from the wind and drafts and the rain.

  4. We're did have a hen get frostbite once on her comb. But it was crazy child when that happened. Hens are sneaky! They find the craziest places to lay.

  5. Get you some wooden eggs or even golf balls and leave them in the nesting boxes, chickens like to lay their eggs where someone else has laid theirs. It won't stop it completely, but it helps. I just busted my hens laying eggs in the dog house, of course the dog thought it was great, no telling how long that's been happening.


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