Digging Out, Digging In

Before I get to the main part of this blogpost, many of you have already commented about this morning’s temperature. Yes, the thermometer really does read -2° F. That’s -18° C. That’s bitter cold! But, no, the chickens don’t need a heat lamp. Here they are this morning, eating and doing fine. It’s not windy, so they do go outside. Soon the sun will be shining on the snow, making it bright and welcoming. For more about cold weather care, read this post. I’ve also written about frostbite here.

cold morning


Yesterday was spent digging out. One son’s job was to uncover the minivan. There it is to the left of the garage.

buried car


Here is the run before Steve shoveled.

run pre shovel


This is why I write in my Coop Design FAQ that large windows and height are essential. Imagine if I had one of those small, low to the ground, only one tiny window, coops. Or a coop in which the feed is outside and under the run. The chickens would have been in the dark. That means that they wouldn’t have had anything to eat or drink for 24 hours. My hens have light and space. They laid eggs despite the storm. Still, Steve had work to do! The Ladies ventured out as soon as the door was unblocked.

shoveled pen


Steve shoveled a path to Phoebe’s potty space. That’s where she and the goats have a confab each evening. We cleared the area so that they could continue to have their nightly discussions.

path to potty


Shoveling out the goats’ paddock was difficult. The snow blocked their door, so Steve had to reach over. Awkward!

shovel door


The goats squeezed out as soon as the door could be pushed open a sliver. They were chagrined to find a wall of snow in front of them.

boys leave stall

Steve kept shoveling.


The goats provided encouragement.

goats help


One difficulty with all of this snow is the problem of where to put the used bedding and manure. The compost pile is well back in the yard – now quite a trudge through three feet of snow. There is an area for compost in the goat pen that I haven’t filled for awhile. It is back in use.

While we were digging out, someone else was digging in. Phoebe is making a snow cave. I wonder how far in she’ll go?

rabbit snow cave


A big thank you to everyone who sent cocoa and coffee! Without your support, I couldn’t keep the cams up and running.


  1. You´re so right that the chickens don´t need a heat lamp and love to go outside almost any weather. The only weather that my chickens “hate” is heavy rain. Last winter I used heat lamp and corners of the coop went ice, now no heat lamp no moisture in walls and they go outside all day long as long as there is some daylight. Happy chickens, happy me :) I´m a little jealous all that snow, we have about 1 -2 inches snow in the ground and about 0 celcius here in southern Finland. Have a nice white winter!

    • Thank you for your input all the way from Finland (a country I’ve long wanted to visit!) You’re right that a lamp can cause more problems that do good.

  2. Stoic work by Steve, lovely to see the girls, boys and phoebe outside in the sunshine and fresh air. You have not mentioned Tonka is she okay??? We have got heavy rain/sleet and strong winds today, girls not going out they have a large covered area and are happy dust bathing and scratching around there. See you have got more snow coming in next few days hopefully not as much. lol

    • They’re still digging out at the stable where Tonka lives. Hopefully he’ll get out today. Yesterday I gave him a good grooming, free time in the indoor, and a long, relaxed trot under saddle.

      • Thanks for letting me know. was looking around on your site as can’t go out and found your short video *A rainy day in June*, you have a beautiful home in a wonderful setting I am quite envious. lol

  3. Way to go Steve! (And your son! Digging out the car looks like a daunting task!). The time lapsed videos were really fun to watch. I’m going to have to remember that for the future. Glad all is well and no power outage. We had a wicked wind storm over a week ago and lost power for 24 hours, but we had mild temps. Your -2 would have been harder to deal with! Glad everyone is doing well, except for maybe Steve’s back! : ). Cheers!

  4. Love the way the Gems are sun bathing in corner of the barn and Phoebe has chosen the sunniest spot outside.

    • They are enjoying there treats, my girls love finely grated raw carrots ( use’s up all my funny shaped one’s that grew ), cucumber and apples.

  5. Daily I come to check on your chickens. I have read so much as I am a newbie with my chickens. I enjoy reading all of what you say. Informative, helpful. My thanks to you so very much! :-)

  6. I’d say Caper (the smartie) offered encouragement while “my” Pip got ready for his closeup. Love that picture. Phoebe is a hoot with her cave. Clever girl.

  7. Ah, winter! We’re supposed to get freezing rain tonight, which means literally hacking our way out tomorrow.

    Poor Steve! My back aches in sympathy. Hope he took lots of breaks and got lots of hot chocolate to warm him up! Phoebe is a hoot. Around and around the pumpkin she went, poking and scratching. She apparently didn’t want to chew through the snow for yummies. But eventually the desire for pumpkin outweighed the snow/ice ‘ick’ factor and she settled in and started to chew her way through. Funny bunny!

  8. What is it about rabbits and goats Terry? As I recall, Candy enjoyed visiting Pip and Caper also, and they seemed to miss her company when she died. died.