I promised myself to lay off the weather rants for awhile, but it seems that's all anyone is talking about, even in NJ. Cold, cold, cold, snow, snow, snow, ice and more snow...
I am just back from a drive to Utica. When I left it was nice enough, other than being FREEZING COLD AND WINDY, but driving back home the snow kicked in. I couldn't even see the road for all the snow blowing across it. These photos are from just after I got home. No more pretty snow pictures, this is just nasty!
Of all the animals, I think the chickens have the worst of it. When it's even close to being decent outside, they make their way through the snow and come back here to hang out with the ducks. But when it's like this, I close both doors to the coop because the wind and snow just blow right through. That, and the wild birds come in through the half-closed door for the chicken feed and can't find their way back out. That, and it's been so cold that the chickens with large combs, especially the roosters, have really bad frostbite. Keeping the doors closed keeps some of warmth in there, but those chickens just aren't happy being closed up for this many weeks/months.
The poor hens are locked in there with 3 rambunctious young roosters who have found their favorite girls and are beating up the unfavored ones—not allowing them any food or water. I've also seen the larger 2 of the roos gang up on the other one. At one point when I came in, he was face down in the hay like my old Roo. I thought we were going to lose this guy too, but he bounced back after a few days. Now he's hiding on the top bunk with the black hens and my blue-egger. She jumps on my head and stays there every time I come in the coop. Safe haven, I guess.
A few days after I saw the struggling roo, we lost one of the blue hens. There were no apparent injuries, but the more I see how they are acting, the more I think it was the 2 mean roos and maybe some of the bad girls who did her in. I can't even bury her because I can't dig a hole in the frozen ground.
We're just hunkering down, waiting for spring. That's all we can do.