Keeping the Flock Healthy in Frigid Sub-Zero Temperatures

Another bitterly cold morning with wind chills around 50 below zero. These are the days when the chickens and duck just hunker down and get by. This is no frills living for them as they bide the time in their tiny 4 X 6 foot coop all day long. A 40 watt light bulb in a reflector is on at all hours these days, and I like to imagine they’re having a party in there.

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This time of year always brings daily problems to deal with, and since I work at home I’m in a fine position to deal with them. This season the struggle has been in keeping water liquified. I moved to a water nipple delivery system because its more conducive to having a duck that likes to splash any and all water around. Though I have a drop in tank heater that keeps everything liquified within the bucket, the nipples themselves tend to freeze in subzero temperatures. This has been a bit of a pain, but we’ve been getting by. About once per day I’ve needed to aim a hair dryer at them.

The duck likes to sit in the full stream of the hair dryer as if she were an off duty movie star. Then she’s the first to partake in the free flowing water of course.

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Eventually these days shall pass, and they’ll bask outside in the sun again. I have to admit that these frigid days are my least favorite in looking after the flock. Frozen eggs that crack the shells can be even more frustrating than the water issues, given all the work that goes into each of them. Though this little dabble with animal husbandry isn’t particularly fun during the “getting by” period, it certainly is still rewarding. I find myself out there amongst my flock five or more times per day as I see to their relative comfort and safety. For a guy that sits on his butt in front of a computer all day, this is a satisfying diversion.


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