Monday, January 31, 2011

Chickens on Ice

Leopold doesn't mind the cold, but he can't take the bitter cold.  He spent most of January in the coop, refusing to come out until late last week when the temp finally got over 15F.  I was happy to see him outside and surprised at how much he had grown.

I looked at his comb and feet for signs of frostbite but didn't see any.  He is a handsome fellow and much larger than the girls.

They all came outside to enjoy the sun while it was "warmer".  I put down the straw from the sheep's feed "sleep" bowl as they wouldn't eat from it anymore.  The chickens and Guineas loved rooting about in the hay.

The hay kept the chickens feet warmer than the snow, notice the "The snow makes my feet cold!" pose.

Even when Leopold stays inside I can lure the girls out with daily rations of pasta and yogurt or sour cream.  Note the girl on the right with sour cream all over her head. 

The temps dropped back to -2F today so the chickens and Guineas are back to staying warm  in the coop, but it can't be too long before "warmer" weather returns.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sound of Music

Several Days this week have been relatively warm with temps in the high teens low twenties. For the first time in weeks the Guineas have come out of the coop and flown up into the trees.

For the first time in a long time the chickens and Guineas have been coming out to meet me at lunch time to get their pasta and yogurt.

They have a call that is squeaky and loud but I have missed it. Around here Guineas crying is the sound of music.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hearing from Noah?

The sheep you see peeking up over Orchid with the white patch on top of her head is Kia. Kia is the most intelligent of our sheep, I think she may have some Icelandic Leader Sheep traits in her. Follow this link to a great story about Leader Sheep in action.

Periwinkle Farm asked in the last post about Orchid sleeping in the food hay, "If any other sheep are trying this?" I didn't think so, until yesterday!

When I went out to feed the chickens two days ago look at what I saw. All the other sheep were in the barn, but I thought I saw Orchid in the outdoor food bowl. As I got closer I saw the white patch and knew it was Kia. She has been doing this for the past few days, lounging all alone, outside in the feed bowl.

I can't imagine why she is doing this outside during the day. Maybe she is keeping lookout like a Leader Sheep would do? Either that or she has heard from Noah and is preparing for the next big flood!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Tucked in

Winter in NE Minnesota means early sunsets and late sunrises. The Commander gets up at 0515 to begin watering the sheep before work so it is always dark outside. When he gets home in the evening it has been dark until recently so I got him the above pictured headlight for Christmas. He tells me it works great and it has really helped with his chores.

The other day he told me it looked like someone was using the ewes feed bowl for a bed. He would go into the barn in the morning and find the hay smashed down with little presents left in it.

One morning he snuck in and turned on his light and found Orchid sleeping in the bowl, tucked in nice and tight amongst the hay. Smart girl that Orchid.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


This is Alder, when we got him his left horn was damaged and we had some concern about how they would develop as he got older. Turns out they are very wide and highly arched, I like them.

Alder is the clean-up ram this year so he is very happy right now. As far as I can tell (granted, I am a novice at this) NONE of the ewes look to be pregnant, I would hate to think that both Alder and Killarney are, um, less than useful.....

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Who gets clothes this dirty?

Gidget! (This is an old picture of Gidget but I had to slip it in because I wasn't able to get one of her without her jacket on.)

Gidget was brought into the house to get her hooves trimmed and when I saw how dirty she had gotten her sweater I decided to change it. She fought getting the new one on like a little kid.

Here she is wearing her other sweater.

It was designed for dogs so it fits her nicely, no chaffing or rubbing and an open bottom.

The jacket that covers her sweater has no zippers or ties, just velcro. The zipper in the picture is an outside pocket in which she can hide treats from the other goats.

It fits her just right, she likes it, and she is ready to go back out into the frozen tundra.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


The chickens (8 hens) have been laying eggs like crazy so when I opened the fridge Saturday morning I had almost 4 dozen eggs staring back at me. I needed to put the family on an egg eating regimen immediately. I started by hard boiling 15 eggs, they will be used for lunches, snacks, and deviled eggs.

Saturday morning breakfast was Quesadillas of two types. The first was salsa, feta and mozzarella cheese, and black olives. The second group was pico de gallo, sharp cheddar cheese, and black olives. The result was happy faces and 9 more eggs eaten.

I still had salsa and Pico left over so I decided to make a few quiches for freezing. One with salsa, sausage, sour cream and cheese, the second with the Pico, sausage, sour cream and cheese. This used up 6 more eggs.

Sunday morning we had pancakes and eggs, 6 eggs down for a total of 36 this weekend - whew!

Friday, January 21, 2011

What to do at -30F?

This morning it was -30F, what does one do when it is that cold? I took Sara outside and we listened to the sap explode inside the trees. The cracking and crackling was startlingly loud.

I decided to go visit the goats. Inside the barn I found them with frost on their eyelashes, around their mouths, and on their fur. I gave them all a good rub down and fed them their grain.

After they ate the goats came with me to visit the chickens. The coldest day of the year and all 8 hens decide to lay one egg each, amazing.

With the chickens fed and the goats tucked away I had to visit the boys (rams). They don't have a barn so their wool was encrusted in frost. This earned them a small bowl of grain and sunflower seeds, it was the best I could do.

Once back inside by the fire I took a nap and dreamed of Summer......

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Copy Cat (Chicken)!

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, well today I'm a copy cat when it comes to feeding my chickens and guineas.

I accidentally left the coop door open last night when the temperature was dropping to below -10F, fortunately I remembered it was still open around 09:00 PM and the Commander ran out and closed it. I felt terrible and figured that I needed to make sure the birds got a warm breakfast, but what? I then remembered the "Spoiled Chickens from Critter Farm" and their Oatmeal breakfasts! This morning everyone got a heaping helping of oatmeal.

They devoured it so quickly that I didn't even have time to take a picture.

Not to be outdone the lunch feast consisted of their daily ration of warm pasta, courtesy of Razzberry Corner, mixed with yogurt and bread. Lynn there posted about it last year and I loved how much her chickens enjoyed it. I would swear that the pasta helps them to keep laying even in this horrible weather and cold.

When I brought them out a little scratch this evening I could swear they were giving me a look that said, "We're not eating that!"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Does this fur make me look fat?

Addison is due to kid on approximately April Fools Day. She is definitely starting to show.

From the side she looks "larger" than she used to, more bulky? Her tummy is starting to hang lower, but no udder as of yet. I don't expect the udder to develop until she gets closer to birthing as this is her first time. Addy is moody some days and quirky on others. I can't wait.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Someone is in Trouble!

Someone has been eating the bark off all the trees.

When I asked Killarney he told me the goats did it.

The goats denied it, they said that they couldn't even get into the sheep pen where the tree bark was missing. (Gidget refuses to take off her jacket, I think it is a fashion statement.)

Anyone know why the sheep would be eating the bark off all the trees?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Roof Snow

We have had a lot of snow this Winter so far and a period of freezing rain last week left all the roofs here heavily loaded. This is the back corner of the house, look at all the ice. We are concerned about ice dams on the house and garage, but not much we can do about it right now.

The garage, the front is like the edge of a glacier.

The chicken coop. I wonder if the layer of snow helps keep the chickens warm? The chickens haven't ventured outside for the past few days as the temperatures had dipped back to the vicinity of ten below.

Here is the woodshed, a nice snow hat to keep what is left of the wood warm.

The sheep house, not too bad.

The goat house.

The storage bin outside the goat house. I won't be getting anything out of this bin until Spring.

The ram shack(le). This has less snow than the others as we had to shovel off the top layer and remove an iceberg weighing around 300 pounds. I am amazed that the tarp didn't just tear away. It was close as the tarp was torn in several places and had severe stretch marks. It took the Commander and I several hours to remove the berg, we had to break it into several pieces before we could get it out.

Finally, the outdoor grill. I can't wait for Spring!