Monday, January 13

Polar Vortex, Chicken Cozies and Lentils

Yes, we survived the polar vortex. That finger-numbing arctic blast that made me wear 4 layers to walk out and get the mail. It required me to remove the block of solid ice that was the chickens water font and replace it with water in a liquid state at least 3 times per day. It also, apparently, was enough of a game changer to influence the curriculum of my sons preschool class in that the teacher spent most of the week discussing polar bears and the features of the arctic.

Aside from the horribly low temperatures and the loss of a few branches on the white birch tree, we were fine. We kept the wood stove going all day and night and that kept the pipes from freezing and made the downstairs comfortable, leaving the upstairs a bit chilly a requiring more quilts on the beds. Not bad sleeping weather since I like a cool bedroom.

I was starting to wonder if I should start knitting 'chicken cozies' to wrap my hens up in but they carried on, fluffing up their feathers and looking like over sized brown and white bowling balls. Egg production was the same - between 5 and 7 eggs per day. I did scatter two new bales of straw in the coop to give them something to burrow down into and peck around in. They were getting a little anxious being in the coop all day - the wind chill would give them instant frostbite - and they gave me the evil-eye when I came in to change out their frozen water and collect the eggs.

The last two days have been better as far as temperature and wind chill so I have opened the coop door in case they wish to venture out into the snow. So far I have only seen one set chicken tracks and they went exactly 5 inches from the coop door, turned around and went right back in.

I have been looking for ways to keep them busy while in the coop. I purchased a flock block, the old winter-chicken-boredom-buster standby which they have pecked into oblivion. I also saw a great idea in the Jan/Feb issue of Hobby Farm Home for giving the ladies sprouted lentils as a sweet treat. I currently have an up-side-down mason jar with cheese cloth on my counter under a dish towel so I am hoping for some nice treats to distribute tomorrow afternoon. Anything to win favor with my girls. Especially since if they ever find out I entertained the notion of making 9 colorful chicken sweaters, I would surely be the lowest on the pecking order next time I went into the coop.

I looked online for a link to the article about the lentil idea but the internet has failed me. I will scan the recipe from the magazine and post it for you shortly. And, by then I can tell you if it worked or not.

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