It was -3F last night. We have about 30” of snow on the ground. Who knew that even the yew hedge in the garden could look like it has goosebumps?! Even the sheep don’t come out of the barn now. The snow is too deep. The only one who laughs in the face of all of it is Jake the barn cat. He still appears out of nowhere as I approach the barn, as if to show me that he has secretly been watching me somewhere and to rub in the fact that I was oblivious to it.
Not too much exciting is happening outside. Last night I put rooster #2 in a cage in the heated barn so he could get food and drink. He is young and foolishly had been crowing while confined with the head rooster and 4 turkeys. That was what we call a ‘poor choice’. Last week he got the stuffing kicked out of him for a day. I had blood splattered all over the coop walls, windows, in the nesting boxes where he hid and on my hens that he dripped blood on while hiding. It was a mess. But I don’t intervene unless absolutely necessary. I knew it was coming. He shouldn’t be crowing. I would have told him if he would have understood me. Anyway, he has stopped getting beaten up, stopped crowing and has just been hiding in the corners of the coop or nesting boxes. This is all normal and if the chickens could be out ranging it wouldn’t really be a problem. But I noticed today that I could feel his keel (the central breastbone in a chicken) protruding abnormally indicating he isn’t getting much food, and his wattles looked a little shrunken (dehydration). And since it was going to be so cold last night anyway I figured it made sense to get him fueled back up with food and water.
You need to be carful removing any chickens from the flock. If they are gone too long, when they return they are like a stranger to the other birds and all kinds of testing of each other goes on. I might give him one more night in the cage since he probably will get beaten up anyway so he might as well be well-fed. Springtime can’t come soon enough for the chickens. Let’s hope Punxsatawney Phil is wrong this year!