Frozen Again!

At evening barn chores today we found that same pullet with her legs frozen the same again.  It wasn’t even terribly cold today, it was up to 15 degrees and only went to -2 last night.  That is nothing compared to what she has been through the last several days.  And she was fine all day yesterday.

This is a very strange mystery.

All the other chickens are fine, including the ones that are her age and smaller than her.  Maybe she has some sort of circulation problem with her legs.

We are not a keep-the-chicken-inside-during-cold-weather-because-she-is-special-needs kind of farm.  She is not a pet.  She is livestock.  And livestock at our farm has to survive the weather reasonably.

We have warmed her up in warm water again, and cuddled her again (while desperately trying to not get attached to her despite the fact that she falls asleep cuddling with us – no small feat for our family).

If this keeps happening I am afraid this girl is not able to live at our farm in our conditions.  Which means we will either sell her or butcher her.  But all the people we sell to live in basically the same climate as us, maybe a little warmer, so she wouldn’t do well there either.

Sigh.  Not fun to have this strange dilemma.

7 thoughts on “Frozen Again!

  1. I am so sorry. Whether a pet or livestock, it is still difficult going though this for both you/family, or the hen.
    I am worried about ours this winter as well. I let them out, they walk in the snow, and when going back in for the last time at night, I can’t help but worry if the barn is warm enough. We have transferred them into a brand new barn, well insulated, but time will tell.
    Hope things will work out for you all.
    p.s. I understand the cuddle dilemma!

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    • BTW, I understand the concern about the heating lamps!!! But how do you keep the chicken barn warm? And what are your thoughts about using one of those ‘cookie tins’ and a light bulb inside, for heating the water at least?
      (forgot to post that in the above note.
      Karen

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      • Last year our heat lamp was clamped on and had a couple of screws inside the loops of the clamp to support it. We thought that was enough that it couldn’t fall. But one of the hens tried to roost up on it and knocked it down into the wood shavings. It began smoking like crazy, burning the shavings and the floor. Our barn dog started barking and it was the middle of the night. My husband went out to the barn, assuming a predator was trying to break in, and when he got in there smoke was pouring out of the coop into the barn. When he opened the door the coop was full of smoke, but luckily there weren’t flames yet. He unplugged the lamp and used their waterer to douse the spot. All the birds survived.
        All that to say, that he used a chain to hang it this year so that no matter who tries to roost or bumps it or anything it wont fall down. We are just very cautious with it now after our experience. Plus, we are trying to breed cold hardy birds, but I think the line has to be drawn somewhere as far as that goes. And after this last week we drew that line: ten degrees or less during the day means we turn the heat on.
        We have never tried the lightbulb method but it sounds good.

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  2. I think I need to put a thermometer in my coop to determine how warm it really is in there. It always feels good to me, much warmer than outside, by the time I walk from the house to the coop. I hope you and your animals are staying warm. Our cold and snowy snap continues in the Great Lakes region.

    BTW, I have recently discovered your blog and have been reading some older posts too. I love reading about your homestead. 🙂

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