Last night was the worst storm we have had since we have been here in Nova Scotia… white-out conditions coupled with 80 km/h winds made a rough night for our animals. We didn’t expect it to be as bad as it was honestly, since every storm warning we have had has dwindled or passed us by, up until last night. We made sure the blankets we have over the rabbit hutches were clamped down, and had the chicken coop closed tight, with a heavy feed bin on the top and had thought that would be good enough. But when we looked out this morning we realized the top of the chicken coop had blown off completely, and their run was filled with a snow drift.
One brave chicken was perched on the top of the coop, almost blowing away. (It’s a silver spangled hamburg, and she loves escaping!) As I walked out to check on them I could see her feathers were all frozen in the direction of the blowing wind. Of coarse she had to take off and make us scramble after her in the wind and snow, she is a very determined old girl, she really thinks she wants to get away one of these days…
The other 3 chickens were still in the coop, huddled in the nesting boxes, the snow had drifted in, and blown up from the bottom and in every void it could. The largest rooster was actually huddled over the other two, protecting them from the wind. Luckily they were all still alive, but all their feathers were frozen, and we almost thought their feet were frozen to the coop. They weren’t luckily, just holding on for dear life! They just stood there and let us pick them up, we put them in a dog kennel we had nearby, and brought them into our backroom/workshop. I got a space heater and put it on in front of them, and they all just sat and let it defrost them. After about an hour later I heard the rooster crowing, so I think they will be ok. I felt so bad for them with their wings looking all deformed from being frozen 😦 I think we will be keeping them in until this storm surge passes.
As for the other animals, they all faired better then the chickens. The rabbits have some snow in their cages that came up under the blankets, but the blankets stayed on luckily, protecting them from the worst of it. I am so glad we thought to use clamps to keep them down!
I took warm water and feed out to the rabbits, and Rosie the pig this morning to hopefully help them thaw out a little too. It’s times like these that I wish we had a barn! I’m at least thankful that we had a good sturdy shed for our new pig, she was quite happy, with little of the weather getting in her shed. I had to shovel my way to her shed in order to open the door, but other then that she was good. Berkshire’s are supposed to be pretty hardy in the winter, and being raised on a 18th century farm museum, she isn’t used to heaters or anything, just out of the wind.
I guess we need to come up with some better winterizing for our animals, if you have a small farm, how do you get ready for winter/storms? I think a lock on the chicken coop would be a good start, so we can “batten down the hatches” when the wind picks up!