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Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Color Red

I am pretty sure I've lost my winter garden to this freezing weather we're having.   Actually, it's below freezing; tonight's low is forecast at 9.  We are actually going to experience single digit weather up here in the so-called temperate Pacific North West.

It has been so cold for so long, I've been concerned about the chickens.  Steve took over letting the girls out in the morning once the days got shorter; they are just plain not ready to roll off the roost at five-thirty in the morning when I leave the house for work.  So he's managing watering the girls by using the old dog dish because my automatic chicken waterer is frozen over.

I'm not really worried about them getting really cold because they are covered in feathers, after all, but I am worried about their combs getting frostbitten, which is a very real possibility.  Last night's low was going to be in the low teens, so when I got home from work yesterday, Steve helped me run an outdoor extension cord out to the coop and I hung up the chick light under the center cross piece. I went out later and stuck my hand through the pop hole to make sure it wasn't getting too hot in there, which I wasn't really worried about, but I still wanted to, you know, make sure I wasn't going to burn the coop down by accident.

Whether the girls were going to like it or not didn't really concern me, but tonight when I went to go lock them up I noticed that one of the Orpingtons was up front and center underneath the infrared lamp.  I know what you're thinking; I'm probably going overboard but the way I look at it is this: I'm sparing myself the self-reproach for letting the girls suffer from my negligence.

Besides, the color red suits them.


macbew said...

I've read that petroleum jelly can also be used to prevent frostbite on their combs.

Paula said...

I've read that too, but first you have to catch them.

Anonymous said...

No need to make excuses for animal welfare - and I too find I sleep much better when I know my animals are taken care of first.

Anonymous said...

I would absolutely provide some warmth when the weather is that cold. Twenties and thirties are one thing... But teens and single digits are another. I have a heat lamp at the ready, though in the SF area, our winters are almost always 22F or higher.

jules said...

Paula, we have rabbits, and they have fur, but we put either heat lamps or lamps with regular light bulbs at the back of the cages and our rabbits, with fur, snug up to those lights and are toasty little bunnies. And this is is 40° weather. You are a good chicken mother.