Let me first say, I love my chickens.
I know that they are technically livestock, but they have become pets in a sense. My kids talk with them, we pet them, in the summer months, we can be found gardening with them. They are curious creatures and surprisingly funny in their antics.
But, serious, in the dead of winter, it can be hard to remember this.
Yesterday, the temps fell below zero, but I still needed to go out, open coop doors, give them food and water, and plug in their heat lamp. And it was quite the process.
Food and water - no problem, easy-peasy. We can handle that.
Opening up the coop and turning on the light?
Well, that is another story.
The coop is basically a big cube on stilts that my husband built. The body of the creation itself is about 3 or 4 ft cubed. A great amount of space - more than enough room for our feathered ladies.
But it is a difficult space to crack into. It goes like this.
- Get bundled up, and trudge out into the early morning, very dark back yard.
- Hope quickly not to surprise any coyotes in the yard.
- Find coop surrounded by snow.
- Shovel said snow.
- Try to open large access door to coop.
- Fail as hinges are frozen.
- Trudge back to the garage, get trusty screwdriver.
- Trudge back outside, use trusty screwdriver to open door.
- Loosen door, but notice that door is swollen and jammed shut.
- Grab edges of door and yank fiercely.
- On sixth yank, door finally opens to a dark coop.
- Chickens squack in annoyance at self and cold air. Tell chickens to knock it off.
- Fumble in darkness to try and plug in coop light.
- Fail as the coop is dark and I am not tall enough to reach, well, anything of use.
- Trudge back to garage for flashlight.
- Realize that kids took flashlight into the house for use as a night light.
- Trudge back outside and go to hay shed.
- Find step ladder in darkness and set by coop.
- Climb said step ladder and climb into coop.
- Pray that a)Muck Boots do not crush chickens under foot and b) coop does not collapse under the weight of self.
- Realize that I don't normally pray, and that I may be wasting time.
- Reach past chickens and plug in coop light.
- Am blinded, as intense light turns on directly in eyes.
- Stumble back and try not to fall out of coop.
- Shut large coop access door, open small chicken door, and go back inside.
- Look down, realize I did all of this in my pajamas, and feel thankful that a) it was dark out and the neighbors *hopefully* didn't see me and b) I did not ruin my work clothes.
- Get dressed, wake up kids, and start the day.
Fun, right? ;)
'Course...I could circumvent most of the above by being more organized...but we won't go there right yet...;)