Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Feeling Wintery

with 4 comments

We did not get much of a chance to ease our way into winter this month. This morning’s single-digit low temperature is the second time already in November that we have faced such surprisingly cold air. The average high and low for this area in November is 40°/25°(F).

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My favorite weather blog is predicting a brown Thanksgiving next week, so we are looking forward to a return to more normal high temperatures in the days ahead, to melt away the remnants of last week’s snowfall.

The horses have been quick to develop their thicker winter coats and appear to be adapting to the cold without difficulty. Delilah loves the snow and romps with visible excitement, frequently burying her snout in the powder and coming up with a wonderfully frosty nose.

The chickens are already over most of their apprehension about walking in the snow, so we aren’t too concerned about them. I noticed recently that the size of one roost (there are actually two) seems to best accommodate 8 hens, based on how our current brood situate themselves.

Unfortunately, we currently have 9 birds.

Last one in tends to set off a chain reaction of chickens wrangling for position, with one dropping down when a 9th barges in line. Occasionally, a Wyandotte will choose to hurdle them all and perch against the wall on a stud above the window.

Last winter, we only had three hens and they didn’t have any problem fitting. You’d think they would split up and use both roosts, but I haven’t seen that yet.

For the first time in the two years we’ve had chickens, we think we may have a sick hen. Her change in behavior started about the same time the snow arrived, so it wasn’t clear at first that there was any issue beyond not wanting to walk in the snow. Now that the other eight have returned to normal behavior, the malaise of the ninth has become more conspicuous.

She doesn’t want to leave the coop. It is hard to track her eating and drinking, so we are not sure if this is a serious illness or something minor that will resolve itself over time. We’ll start observing her with increased scrutiny to see if we learn anything more.

We have been so intent on tracking the potential predators that threaten the hens, it would be a shame to instead lose one to illness. We hope to do everything we can to prevent that from happening.

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Written by johnwhays

November 13, 2018 at 7:00 am

4 Responses

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  1. The one pic reminds me: I hate to see a dog on a leash — when, if they were trained, they could be trusted to respond to voice commands regardless of the temptation. That’s a lot to wish for I know. How many times in a walk does Delilah’s line get wrapped around a tree or a bush?

    wtbell

    November 14, 2018 at 4:59 am

    • Oh, how I wish Delilah could be trusted to respond to AND OBEY voice commands to a level she could be free of the leash on our own property!
      Surprisingly, she stays on the trail the majority of time, avoiding tangles. One of my favorites though, is bushwhacking off-trail with her, allowing her to follow wherever her nose desires. If I get distracted, we can frequently end up on opposite sides of trees. It’s a great pleasure watching how she has learned to recognize and solve the problem with a minimum of voice and leash-tugging commands to get back in line with me.
      Frustrating though, that she reveals such intelligence, but not the control to be disciplined enough that we could trust her off-leash. She’s a runner and an uncontrollable carnivore under constant temptation by (obviously) chickens, rabbits, squirrels, birds, and barn cats. She has already caught and killed all but the cats, and returned with other carcasses that once even included a lamb.
      We have settled on tethering her 100% of the time.

      johnwhays

      November 14, 2018 at 11:43 am

  2. Love your pictures, I can feel does beautiful skies. I miss Cyndie and you very much and will see forward for our next reunion. All my love and good energy to all of you!

    C´Ubuntu

    November 13, 2018 at 1:03 pm


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