An Icy Path

It rained on Saturday, which washed away much of the snow. This is called the January Thaw. It is not always a good thing. Cold and wind followed the rain. Black ice coated the roads. Driving was hazardous. So is the walk to the coops.

to barns


Even the dogs step carefully. Lily is smart enough not to chase squirrels.

icy path


The hens, however, are fine. It’s 20° F, and they’re outside. They don’t stand still on the ice, but they do walk about on it, with no ill effects.

chickens in pen


Those dinosaur feet do just fine.

hens pecking


I, on the other hand, worry about falling. I wear treads. I don’t go outside, not even to the mailbox, without them.



It is just as bad at the stable where Tonka lives. He has studs on his shoes so that he can safely walk out to the paddock. Yesterday at the barn, three of us were talking and comparing winter footgear. Conversations about such things can go on at great length! We all had some version of these rubber pull-on ice cleats. The ones on my boots are from LL Bean, but I think that the next pair that I get will be these. What do you wear when the walking is treacherous?


  1. Ohhhh great idea. I need to find some place local w treads. I almost went down the other day. I did notice one of my glw chasing another one of my girls and she slid. Looked like she was ice skating lol

  2. I use the old stabilicers from LLBean which I feel are perfect. I also use a pair of ski poles. You should at least use one pole if you have to carry something in one hand. I don’t want to fall either.
    Be careful! ! !

  3. I wore the treads you are wearing for years after moving to Maine and continued to slip and fall sometimes. Last year I bought Stabilicers Original Heavy Duty Traction Cleats which have large studs on the bottom. It has made a big difference and I can walk on almost anything! The paddock and outside area for the chickens and geese is mostly all ice and after two knee surgeries, I can’t afford to fall.

  4. We also have an ice rink in the barn yard!! I use the cleats but even the sheep and chickens were slipping!! I threw down pine shavings and that gave just enough traction for them! Plus it is safe for feet and won’t hurt them if ingested! I won’t use chemicals so I tried this and it worked !! Easy , safe, not real expensive it’s a winner in my book.
    Safe walking to all till Spring! :)

    • Good idea about putting down shavings. Luckily for my goats, right before it iced up I’d dumped a load of dry leaves on their path. Even frozen, they’re uneven and provide traction.

  5. If you order the YakTrax (with coils) be sure to get the ones with a strap over the foot arch to keep them on your shoe, otherwise they come off very easily, and you end up retracing your steps trying to find your lost shoe attachment. The Stabilicers look like they would work splendidly, although they are pricey.

    • Yes, they are a little pricey but…..aren’t YOU worth it. Better than a broken hip!

    • Thx for the link. I am ordering up a pair. It’s snowing right now in baltimore!

  6. Icy…….yes, we throw out alittle wood ashes…….easy to walk on, good for grass and great for our apple trees!!
    A little messy on boots and shoes, so take off and keep out doors or in Lean-To….
    Stay safe Sandy

  7. What happened to the temp that was always near the time stamp on web cams? Every day I check to see how cold it is at your place. Makes me feel good about living in Sunny Southern California.

  8. Well..after the FREAK Southern California snowstorm of 2014, I was wearing my OLD muck boots. I did not see a patch of ice on the concrete and took a fall. Luckily my jacket is super padded. I bought some new and improved muck boots. They come up to my calf and have tread and are warm to 20 degrees. I may not see snow like that again in my lifetime! Who knows!

  9. the best $$$$ can buy…kahtoola micro spikes [from most recreational stores] are the preferred winter mobility security device. excellent for winter hikers and joggers.

  10. I own a pair like yours Terry. I’ve had them since we last had snow, in 2013. Most of England has had snow this past few days but here on the South East corner (any further south or east can only be achieved by boat) we have had one frost so far this winter but 28 degrees doesn’t look so bad compared to your temperatures! I am in awe of your resilience.

  11. I see a few people mentioned micro spikes. You will never need anything else.

  12. Another vote for Kahtoola Microspikes. I don’t need them to get out to the coop (yet), but rely on them for running the dog in the woods when conditions are unfriendly for snowshoes or XC skis.

  13. I bought some YaksTracks (sp?) a few years ago from Beans. They work great in ice and snow and I always leave them on a pair of boots so I can just put them on when it’s icy. However, be VERY careful of any metal tracks — they’re terribly slippery on empty flagstones or on tile. We have a granite front step that is a nightmare when I wear them, and slate in the foyer. Then the cleats act like ice skates and if I’m not ready, wheeeee!

  14. I’ve had YakTrax for years and I LOVE them…in the snow. On ice, it’s a very different story. If it’s flat, glare ice, the metal loops don’t grip, they skate across it. Rough, chunky ice is OK, there’s something there for the loops to grip. I’ve never fallen in the snow while wearing them. The few times I’ve come across flat ice while wearing them (and some times you can’t tell what’s under the snow), I’ve almost broken my neck .

    Others have commented that they work for them on ice…maybe I’m doing something wrong, but I might as well wear ice skates instead.