The whole Midwest is suffering under this year’s polar vortex, and we are feeling it here for sure. The temperature at 11 am has risen from 17 to 10 … (oh, that’s negative Fahrenheit, in case you didn’t know!)
I’ve had the goats closed up in the stall in the barn for several days. I normally only use that to confine them while they get their trimming and parasite medications. I covered the floor with straw, so it will be a mess to clean up once this is all over but I’ll probably wait till spring in case we go through another round.
This morning, I drove the Jeep out as I’ve been doing because it is too painful to walk the 70 yards to the barn in the biting wind. I quickly closed the overhead door behind me to hold in what heat was left in there. Mickey, the cat, was quick to greet me and ask for a cuddle to put his cold little feet against my coat and feel my warm breath. The litter box, ignored for most of the year, was full of frozen items to clean out. Who could blame them?
The goats were bleating, happy to see me and anticipating their breakfast. I gave them a double portion so the heat of their digestion would keep them warmer. I have an electric heating column that I use sometimes when I’m working in the fiber room, and I hooked it up to blow into the stall for a while. I set the oven timer when I got home so I won’t forget to go back to turn it off. My memory is only reliable when I don’t get distracted by other things, which is always.
The chickens are living in the coop, with drifts blocking most of the door out to their run. They have absolutely no interest in dipping their scaly little feet out into the frigid snow. I took their heat lamp off the timer to run constantly for the duration. They are eating and drinking more than usual in their confinement so I have to check them twice a day for supplies and to pull out the eggs before they freeze. Last night I took out some extra wood shavings to cover the floor. The sound of it terrified them and they went shrieking up into the rafters. Just chicken, I guess.