This cold snap we’ve been having has been brutal. It was 27 degrees this morning–a full 40 degrees warmer than it was a few days ago! By comparison to the sub zero temperatures of the past week, it’s practically balmy out there. I checked the mail today without wearing a coat! I feel like we’ve moved to the tropics!
The cold temperatures were especially hard on the homestead, because while the animals handle the cold fairly well, their water freezes and needs to be refreshed regularly. Especially the ducks, since they use water to help them swallow, clear their sinuses, and generally just have higher water needs than other animals.
Steve usually does all the barn chores, but on nights where he’s working I take care of the evening milking and shutting the animals up for the night. Except, when I woke up a little after 2 in the morning a few nights ago, I realized I’d forgotten to shut the ducks in their coop. I fretted for a few minutes, and kept trying to reassure myself that they were fine. Even with the coop door open, they’re in a very sheltered location. Sure temps were going to be low, but I didn’t really have to worry that the wind chill would be too much, right? I couldn’t do it. If anything happened to them overnight, I’d feel terrible. So I pulled myself out of bed and bundled up to go out into the -7 degree night and trudge through the snow to the poultry yard. And do I find?
That the ducks hadn’t even gone into their coop, they were bedded down in a snow bank and were none too pleased to be herded in for the evening! In negative temperatures they were outside BY CHOICE! Not only that, but Steve tells me when he went out in the morning to let them out, they flooded out of the coop and dove into the snow, wallowing in it all together. If I’m ever worried about ducks in a cold snap, especially late at night, remind me to not to be.