It’s been beautiful at the farm for the last week after the first snow of the season. The temperature didn’t get above freezing for over a week so even though we only got an inch of snow it stuck around for quite a while. The cold temperatures don’t normally bother the ladies and gents, although many of them do object to the first appearance of the mysterious white stuff covering the ground. Usually when I open the door to the ladies’ coop in the morning they all come rushing out in a big stampede, anxious to greet the day and get first dibs on any worms unfortunate enough to not have slithered back underground before the roving gang of pecking beaks passes by. But when there’s snow on the ground, the ladies are decidedly less interested in leaving the coop in the morning.
There were a few days in a row when the temperature was only 16 degrees in the morning. I brought the ladies warm oatmeal mixed with their feed and set it out under their covered shelter where they usually eat their breakfast, and instead of the usual rush of chickens, I looked back at the coop only to see a bunch of chickens huddled in the doorway looking at me with an expression that suggested perhaps I would be so kind as to bring the treat pans inside the coop just this once. Of course I obliged, and the ladies excitedly ate their treat in the comfort of the coop. The older ladies, Rhoda and Raquel, have seen snow several times before, and it doesn’t take long before they leave the coop and carry on about their usual activities. A few of the less adventurous chickens spent a couple days in the coop, but after a couple days of the snow not melting they finally left the coop to explore their snow covered environment. A few of them were quite comical and flew as far as they could when they left the coop as if trying to fly completely over the snow, and then when they inevitably landed on the snow they began squawking and hopping across the snow as if it was going to jump up and bite them. Eventually all of the ladies left the coop, at least for a little while, to get some fresh air and exercise.
Reuben and Ramon surprised me by spending most of the past week inside their coop. I think I even caught them snuggling (well, as much as a rooster would agree to that sort of thing!) to keep warm. Their coop was an island in a snow covered expanse, so I could understand them not wanting to leave the warmth of their coop to brave the cold temperatures and snow. I brought them oatmeal treats on the coldest mornings, and finally this morning when I went down to check on them they were outside their coop and spent much of the day outside under their rooster fort.
Lil’ Red Rooster and Brown Rooster were more adventurous than Reuben and Ramon and spent quite a bit of time out in the snow, patrolling the perimeter of the ladies pasture and looking for love as usual.