Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. A polar vortex descended on our region, plunging us into negative temperatures at night, and barely letting us get into the positives during the day. The weather website I check tried to tell me we hit double-digits, but my thermometer in the coop begged to differ. The few times I had to go outside made it clear that a couple of degrees didn’t make a difference anyway. It was just plain cold.
This weather trend caused some concerns around the home and coop. Mostly the coop, which is around our home, but I decided to include them both. It was far too cold for Boss Chicken to be out there alone. It hit -11 the night before, and that was cold enough for me to worry about the others, who could clump for heat. When I got up to take care of everyone’s food, it was still in the negatives. Based on that, I made the decision to keep The Boss in for the day. This then caused me to have to figure out how to get her fed and watered while in her newfangled storage tub. The food part was easy. I just used the container that I usually use to bring her food out to her hutch as a dish, dumped some mealworms on top as an act of contrition, and put it inside. She made some very excited clucks, so the mealworms worked. Now I had to deal with the water set up. As with many crisis situations, my first instinct was to just use duct tape. I tried taping a small water bottle to the side of the tub, but the combination of it being cold, the tub being too smooth, and my duct tape being kind of not great made for a very unstable system. When duct tape fails, look to bungee cord. I took a couple of coolers we had in the storage space, bungeed the water bottle to a milk crate, and put the milk crate on top of the coolers. She now had easy access to water, and all was well. At least inside.
Outside, I was quite concerned about Henny Penny’s butt. Her butt feathers still haven’t grown in. She gets feather nubs, then they seem to disappear, then reappear, and I’m never quite sure what’s happening. But she was out there in the cold with a bare butt, and I was worried. I briefly thought about trying to put vaseline on the skin to protect it, but my experience with trying to put vaseline on their combs proved to me that greasing up a live chicken was a fool’s errand. When I said goodnight, she had her tail down, covering the exposed area, and I figured the combination of that and being out of the wind should be enough. She got through the entirety of last winter with a bare butt, and there were worse temperatures than this, and for extended periods. I figured she could hack one night. When she came out in the morning, I looked for signs of frostbite, but she seemed o.k. I’ll keep an eye on it, but with luck we’ll all make it through.
Of course, this being New England, it was 54 two days after a Polar Vortex, so if we hunker down a little, we get relief. This is much better than last year where the entire winter was one prolonged hunkering. This winter needs less hunkering, but more questioning just what is going on. -11 to 54 is a big range of temperatures. I think this is why everyone in New England is a little nuts. You would be too if your weather kept pulling this kind of nonsense.