Happy spring everyone!! It has been one LONG winter. Tomorrow is May and we still have little bits of snow on the grass. So, let’s talk about farm things!
My first winter with chickens was a doozy. Ty ended up getting back surgery in early January, which means I had the worst 6 weeks of winter to take care of the chickens alone. In the fall he put together an awesome water bucket for them which helped a lot. It was a standard waterer wrapped in heat tape and plugged into an extension cord. It never froze in even the most frigid temperatures, and I only had to refill their water every 4-5 days. It worked great until the plug stopped working, and we could never fix it. So I ended up having to fill a heated pet bowl with water everyday for the last 2 months of winter. It worked fine until the crazy snowfall that came out of nowhere, 70 cm in a week. I couldn’t open the doors to the coop when I woke up one morning. So I shoveled, and shoveled, and shoveled. The snow was almost to my waist so it was nearly impossible to actually get a good scoop, and even when I did it felt like it was filling right in again. I eventually opened the door just enough to squeeeeeze into the coop. We’ll know to think of a better system next year now.
The best part about raising chickens through winter, the ladies laid eggs (almost) all year! They did slow down for a couple really cold, awful weeks, but for the most part I always had eggs.
The deep bedding method went very well for us. It got to be a couple feet of shavings deep, and we had to raise the nesting boxes and roost, but it stayed fairly clean and dry in there on the really cold days. The melt here is now pretty intense, as you can imagine, so it’s a bit of a mucky mess out there. Luckily the drainage on our property is really good, so I have some very happy free rangers now.
In other news, we have pigs!! Adorable little Berkshire/Tamworth crosses. Elvis our LGD thought they looked fun to play with and chased them a bit in their pen, so I’m working hard to get them to trust me. With the crazy amount of snow we haven’t been able to built a proper pen for them yet, but we did need to get them now. So for now they’re in the dog run, and sleeping in the dog house. We’ll build a movable pen for them so they can munch on things around the acreage and stay clean.
I ate my lunch at the table with the sliding glass door open today and listened to everything going on around me. Chickens clucking down the driveway to visit my daughter, who is currently obsessed with making the grossest possible looking thing out of mud, and trying to feed it to me. Roosters crowing, and little grunting pigs. It’s only all we ever wanted, so life is good. Now I’m counting down the days until I can plant my garden!