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Nearly-Frozen Goats and Chickens

Here in Colorado, our high temp today was 4 degrees. F. That's not very high. Our low tonight is -6 degrees F but with wind child, is expected to be -20 degrees F. Bbbbbrrrrrr.

We have two dog houses that we've modified for the goats, added tarping and plastic to the roof to help keep snow and rain out, and stacked lots of hay inside. Each is on a pallet to keep it off the ground. They are pushed together to help keep the other warm. The three nigerian dwarf goats like the smaller green dog house, fitting tightly in there, which helps keep them warm. But the larger nubian milk goat can be really mean to the others so she is in the bigger dog house (purple!) by herself. (The goat choose, not use.) I've added lots of hay but still, she must be cold. And moans ... she's so sad! We have the gate to the goat pen open so the goats can come and go at will, going under the deck to get more hay to eat or a drink of cold but hopefully not-frozen water whenever they choose.

The pens we made for them and placed against our house weren't going to work in this bitter cold weather. So we moved a 6x10 dog kennel into the unheated but enclosed workshop and created a makeshift home for the 10 of the chickens. Three laying boxes (ok, small cat crates), water buckets, roosts and feeders. We also moved a smaller chicken "tractor" in there to hold 4 chickens (have to keep the roosters separate). Also hooked up two bright lights on a timer, and moved some chicken scratch in there, in rodent-proof tubs. We took a thermometer in there today and it read 15 degrees! Ouch! At least they are out of the wind and snow. They are all kept busy scratching for tossed-out cracked corn, and old goat hay to sift through.

So far everyone seems to be fairly ok. I'd chosen breeds of chickens known to be cold hardy, and the nigerian dwarf goats' coats are very thick and furry. I'm a little concerned about the nubian (whose hair didn't thicken up at all) and the goats' hooves. Our wether limped a little today until I rubbed his hooves to warm them up.

Everyone is checked on several times during the day, at the expense of our own health. Eggs collected are very cold but not frozen (they would be if we didn't check on the chickens as often as we did). We only got 2 eggs today, but that's expected and actually not bad.

Yep, for next winter, we're building a barn, with electricity to heat, and room for all of the chickens and goats. Or maybe we can convince our goats to stay under the deck behind our house, where it's not quite as cold, and is full of hay.

I'll have to give it some thought.

I hope we get through this cold snap ok. It's supposed to start warming up tomorrow. We sure could use it. I almost feel guilty sitting in my 62 degree home, with a roaring fire in the fireplace, and 2 pairs of pants on!


Happy new year, all!


Canadian Doomer said...

Yea, that's ... pretty cold. Funny, I get so used to reading American sites where they're talking about how cold they are at 30F, and I forget about your northern states.

We're having freakishly warm weather right now. It's 7C//44F on New Year's Eve. We'll pay for it, I'm sure, once the cold hits.

Stay warm. Lock the fence to keep that cold air down there a bit longer, okay?

Cinj said...

Poor things. That's what I'll worry about if I'm ever allowed by my hubby to get chickens. It gets so cold here.

अरविन्द जांगिड said...

Nice Post ! Thanks

kelly stephen said...

Nice One, thanks!!
keep Posting in future, i would love to read.
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