The Maine winter has begun. This weekend we transferred from the chilly to the very cold. We also had our first few inches of snow on Saturday which thoroughly confused and displeased both geese and chickens.
Our house is primarily heated with wood so in preparation for the long winter months we stacked three cords of firewood in our porch. We are probably going to have to order at least one more cord before the winter is through.
Our chickens have been bedded down thoroughly with hay and pine boughs to cuddle up in. The two roosters seem to have an unusual relationship, our bantam Wheaton spends his nights curled up underneath our Silkie rooster. Occasionally we even think he is missing, he is so thoroughly squirreled underneath.
Egg production this time of year does tend to taper off, but with new hens from this spring we are still getting eggs. We built a small outdoor nesting box for the hens that tend to wander (their favorite laying place so far is the goose hut, not their own). It is also another nice hiding place from the winter elements.
My biggest concern as the cold sets in is keeping the chickens with fresh water to drink. We switched over from a traditional metal waterer to a rubber one that is easy to break the ice out of, but it still freezes just as easily. I have considered purchasing a heated water bowl but I haven’t done it yet. As long as we are around the farm there is no problem, it is only if we decided to travel. And although I love my farm, I also love having the freedom to travel.
I think the geese are the most unhappy so far at the change in weather. They have taken to finding a wind-free location and curling up, heads under wings, for the entire day until it is time to go back in their hut for the night. Their tempers also seem a lot shorter than before. And of course their beloved pond is no longer open for swimming.