Cold Weather Chicken Chores

This was the temperature this morning.

-6º F. That’s -21º C.

Even the dogs don’t want to go outside. Lily stays on the path, and then hurries back into the house. But I have animals to take care of.

I have a bottle filled with hot water for Candy. She’s waiting at her door. Her face is icy from her own breath, but she’s been cozy all night in her house and she’s eager to come hop down into the yard.

The hens come right outside, too. Lulu, of course, is the first one down the ramp and the rest soon follow. I’ve tossed corn into the straw. It’s a source of dense calories to keep them warm, and it keeps them busy.

The goats are happy to see me.

Isn’t anyone grumpy about this cold weather? It’s hard to complain when the animals are so cheerful. Well, Caper is not sure about liking the snow.

Look at how his beard is frizzing out in the cold! He doesn’t mind.

The waterers, feeders and hay rack have been checked and filled. The chickens have been let out, given grain and two eggs collected. I’m ready to go in and get my own breakfast.

The thing about having animals to care for is that it forces you outside at times that you wouldn’t otherwise have gone. If it weren’t for my chores, I’d have missed how beautiful the early morning light and shadows are on the roof.

Pretty, but I don’t linger. I haven’t had my coffee yet.

Pip can’t believe that I’m not staying outside to play with him. I promise Pip that when it warms up I’ll be back out for a longer visit. I expect that it will get to be 10º by noon.


  1. Oh look at those sweet faces and all saying “Come on Mama, come play with me.” We all get those faces; from human and pet, and take the time to play because it makes our days just a little bit brighter.

  2. I can’t believe you even stayed outside long enough to take those beautiful pictures!

  3. Thank you for sharing the beautiful pics! In the pacific northwest I spotted my first snowdrops on long walks with the “wild child” puppy this weekend- made me smile, and hopeful for spring.

  4. Terry you are so right in that having animals forces you to go out when you normally wouldn’t and you see things you normally wouldn’t.
    Just this weekend I saw a red head woodpecker, a whole flock of robins in the tree (hope that’s a sign of an early spring, shouldn’t they be down south?), tracks of all the night critters trying to obtain a free chicken dinner, the wild turkey that scared me half to death as I didnt’ see it and it took to the air with wild cackling and wing beats that make a heck of a racket. I suspect it was drinking from my garden pond as the air stone leave a small area of open water.
    I didn’t see this but a mountain lion was captured on a wild game cam about 10 miles from my place. Good grief and I thought raccoons & the occasional coyote were a my biggest problems.

    • Every time a mountain lion sighting is confirmed, the authorities claim it was an escaped pet. But, they’re finally starting to admit that wild ones are moving in. Terrifying.

  5. You are so correct Terry about the mountain lion and escaped pet thing. Several have been spotted all over the state lately especially in the ozarks but this was the first sighting in suburbia.
    The conservation agent on the news admitted that it was likely a male looking for new territory and that the males travel a lot looking for females.
    But the funniest thing he said was that they posed no real threat to pets or livestock, they prefer deer as prey. HMMM lets see a swift agile deer or a slow, clumsy cow, sheep, goat or a dumb dog like my Lulu that would go up to it to see if it wanted to play.

  6. Wow a mountain lions as long as you respect your distance your okay. You are right Terry it was cold i wanted to see how cold so i poured water outside on my deck in 3 seconds frozen solid i was amazed.

  7. I think that last photo could be a new greeting card. They’re so fluffy! I do feel a bit guilty at having worn sandals to work today.

  8. I was wondering have the goats ever tried to escape their pens and go exploring ? I have heard that goats even dwarfs are quite the escape artists and love to go exploring and climbing over everything. On one blog I read talesfromtherock. His goats, well most are gone know except for one Anglo-Nubian named Geisha and a little dwarf wether named Ambroise. (Ambroise might end up curry eventually because he has a bad habit of climbing up cars and messing up their roofs.) The tales of his goats past and present’s destruction is to much to tell here. But his stories with all his animals from his eight Bernese Mountain Dogs, to Geisha who likes to get his Ryeland sheep ram to mate with her are quite entertaining. All his animals from his shetland ponies to the Dogs and the Goats love to steal eggs straight from the hen house. The Shetland pony Trevor is quite good at that.
    But to get back to the goats, Geisha likes to sneak into the house and eat the flowers left in vases and steal fruit from the kitchen. Even the ponies and Shetlands will sneak in and acourse so will the sheep in winter. I was just wondering if you have any problems at all with yours ? I know his goats have messed up cars, snuck into the house, the green house and gone through plate glass in a hurry to get out and numerous other mishaps.

    • Baby goats can ooze out of just about any fence, but as they get older, it’s easier to keep them in. I’m not one for the sort of chaos you describe from that blog. I believe in good fences and keeping animals safe and healthy where they belong! It doesn’t make it less fun here, just a tad more peaceful :)

      • Well as far as I can tell from his blog he does keep good fences, I think. And he lives next door to five million acres of miltary owned wildland. So cars aren’t so big a problem. He does get lots of visitors from the miltary sheep though. And even occasionally wild ponies who in the mist look like unicorns. It is chaos, well ordered chaos of a sorts, and it is fun to read. Especially when goes for walks on his mountain with eight or so Bernese mountain dogs, Geisha the goat, sometimes the sheep, and one of the ponies. Hikers in his area do tend to look startled when he and his bunch come about.
        One of his black sheep has even scared hikers into thinking they were seeing a puma flowing them, when all the sheep wanted was their lunch.

  9. Love the cold photos :) Though I can’t ‘feel’ the cold I can imagine it, since we get temps like that every year or two, at least once each winter. This is my first year with chickens and like you, I am realizing how wonderful it is to be called outside every winter day, no matter the weather. Not only does it get me outside sometimes when the last stars are still out, and sometimes the first evening stars as well, but having the chickens in the back corner of our yard brings a lot of frisky energy to the whole garden that has never been there before, most especially in winter.

    I’ve been studying feng shui, the Chinese art of placement, and it turns out the chickens are in the ‘Wealth/Prosperity/Blessings’ corner of our property. Guess what — my whole life has been completely overturned (for the better) — since they arrived. And that has jumpstarted a complete renovation of the whole yard. Helpful People & Travel is starting to show signs of action too. Winter is such a good time for noticing and planning.

    Love the goat action. I don’t think the city fathers would go for goats here in town. But maybe a rabbit or two? I think this is the Year of the Rabbit (2011) in Chinese astrology. Hmmmmmm.

    Stay warm and keep the fun photos coming.