Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It is officially Winter now

Well it only got to -6 here last night according to our thermometer (which is out of the wind and has brand new batteries in both the sensor and thermometer this month).  Add on the foot of snow we got in the last 2 days and it is official, Winter is here.  The lousy party about this cold is trying to keep the chickens watered.  Their water freezes up all the time because there is no heat in the coop.  The chickens don't need heat to survive that is why they have feathers.  The coop is watertight and insulated so the heat they do self generate does stay in the coop. With all this snow on the ground the chickens won't come outside the coop.  It makes for cramped living quarters inside.  They truly hate change.  Last year I shoveled a path out in the chicken yard for them so that they did not have to go into the deep snow.  It didn't help, they still stayed inside.  So this year I didn't bother yet.  The one good thing is the chickens will eat the snow for their water.  I have a heated dog bowl just outside for water, but the chickens won't go to it.  They eat the snow because it is closer and ignore the dog bowl.  So for now it is snow for water.
Unfortunately, this still complicates the quail thing.  I had a self waterer in the quail enclosure that was doing fine but -6 did not help it.  It was frozen solid.  So I added some hot water to it this morning and tonight we will have to change it out again.  This is going to be an issue for me if I add in more quail.  I will need power and a way to water them in the Winter next year.  I added hot water to the self nipple waterer inside for the chickens.  It had a small 1/8 inch ice film on top and that was it.  I was surprised at that but I manipulated the nipple underneath and could not get a drop of water to come out.  So I added a small 5 gallon fish tank heater to the five gallon bucket and plugged it in.  It sits down near the nipples at the bottom of the bucket.  I may need to take some duct tape and insulation and rig a wrap to go around the bucket.  The duct tape cover will keep the chickens from eating the insulation.
We have all started to pet the sheep when we feed them in the morning.  The two new teenage female ewes let me pet on them this morning while they were eating hay.  The new teenage ram, Lucky, would not let me touch him.  We need to get him tamed down.  Persistence on our part will pay off.