Chickens | Outdoor Playtime

First Real Snow!

This was going to be a post about Bisbee (one of my favorite Arizona towns), but with the onset of snow, blogging about the desert seemed all wrong. And I know I’ve been a once a week Wednesday blogger for awhile, but the snow would be old news by Wednesday so this week I’m a Monday blogger. It’s good to shake things up every once in awhile…

I did a bit of Java toe-hair trimming on Sunday so she could run loose and free without getting dragged down by ice balls wedged into her pads. I’ve been putting cloth bags on her feet for about a week to avoid having half the mud and water in the backyard dragged into the house via Java fur.

We’ve used the bags before for skijoring, but Java didn’t want any part of them in the backyard. She would go outside and sit on the back stoop like a kid that no one will play with. She looked utterly mortified and humiliated. I’m sure Java would have gotten over her embarrassment soon enough but I couldn’t stand it. I know how much she loves snow and I wanted to see her enjoy herself.

Latte doesn’t have hairy feet, which is good since she has plenty of other issues. It’s hard to capture a photo of her that isn’t a blur.

This was the first big snow for the chickens. They did not handle it very well. It’s as if snow was kryptonite and they were Superman. 

I brushed the snow off the chicken coop ramp and raked the snow in the run until it was sufficiently mixed with the dirt and shavings to hide the whiteness. To further coax the chickens out, I put a little chicken scratch down the ramp so they would come out after it.

The first buff only went far enough to reach the food. She was almost completely blocking the coop doorway. Even so, the other buff tried to stick her head out too. I grabbed the one who was the furthest out and set her down on the ground.

She flapped and fussed but headed quickly towards the food and started eating. She soon let out an indignant “Brrraaaccckkk!” and when I looked to see what was wrong, she had her beak open and her eyes were wide. Every time a gust of wind blew snow into her face, she’d look indignant and let out what I’m pretty sure was “What the hell?!” in chicken language.

Steve put a plastic wind shield around the bottom edge of the chicken run but it was windy enough that the snow blew over the top of it.

When one of the Australorps stuck her body part way out the coop door, I grabbed her and set her on the ground too. The other Buff came out on her own and I left the last Australorp to figure it out since she was cowering in the back corner.

I had to repeat the ramp and run wipe-down a couple more times, but the girls seemed to eventually get the hang of the cold-white-stuff, and even went out into the run area that isn’t covered by a roof.

The drop-down door on the bottom of one end of the run is another feature Steve added recently. It makes it much easier for me to get the food and water in and out, especially now that the water font sits on top of a heater that turns on when the temperature drops below freezing.

So we’re all adjusting to winter and prepping for Christmas. I’m hoping that soon there will be snowshoeing and cross country skiing photos to share. It looks like it will be a better winter for snow play this year!

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17 Comments

  1. Love the header…love the snow pictures! Do you keep a light on in the chicken coop for heat so they don’t get frost bite? We still don’t have snow and it was 51 this morning.

  2. That’s so funny about how differently your pups and chicks reacted to the snow! I’m looking forward to your post on Bisbee, let me know how you feel about that town … for now, enjoy the winter & the holidays!

  3. Fun photos! The Brew Babes sure do love the snow!
    The chickens will get used to it…or not.
    Mine never have and will only come out for a little while and then run back indoors. lol! But seriously…I can’t blame them. I do, too!

    Your coop is so cute! I hadn’t seen it finished. Very nicely done!

    Congrats on the snow!
    I love Bisbee, too and look forward to your next post about you visit there.

    ~Lisa

  4. Beautiful pix! Poor little java! We have had fuzzy toe issues before and I would trim, too. I did find some little fleece booties over at therapaw that have rubbery bottoms that all of my dogs tolerated no matter how finicky-maybe they would help?

    Your chicken descriptions had me laughing out loud!!! I hope they get over their disdain for the stuff soon or it will be a long winter for them 😉

    Hugs!!!!

  5. Lori – There is a light that comes on in the morning so they have a few extra hours of light, which is supposed to help with winter egg production. There is also a heater that comes on if the temps drop below 20 degrees. Right now, it is 7 degrees outside but a balmy 37 degrees in the chicken coop.

  6. Susan – I really like Bisbee and have had dreams of retiring there (at least during the winter months) but I’d have to know more about living there versus just visiting. I like the artsy feel of it and the look of the buildings, with it’s hilly streets.

  7. Dream Valley – I know you have quite the dog bootie collection! I’m hoping to try out a couple different styles on both Java and Latte. Latte is such a foot chewer, I can’t see that working but I’ll give it a try. Java is the bigger concern though as even with trimming fur, she still gets clumps.

  8. The snow is so pretty and for some reason almost every dog loves it! Mine love digging trails with their noses! Sadie gets snowballs all up and down her legs. But now that she goes to the groomer every 8 weeks or so, the snow might not ball up so bad.
    Poor chickens. At least you are doing everything you can to make it better for them. Hopefully they will get used to it!!

  9. PG – The snow is beautiful! I don’t know how people can complain about it, although the doubling of time it takes to drive to work is a bit of a bummer. Hoping for sunshine to melt the ice today. It is totally okay to complain about ice…

    Groomer — I keep thinking about bringing both Java and Latte in for some deshedding and a nail clipping would be good too.

  10. Love your storytelling and images. We had a storm down here in New Mexico at the same time but honestly, our “storms” can’t compare with Minnesota’s!!

  11. Wow Maery, your chicken coop is gorgeous, painted red and green, so festive! Your animals look happy. We just brought our dog home from a kennel when we were gone for a week, and he slept for 2 straight days. They wore him out!

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