Thursday, May 14, 2015

Base Camp on a Cold Night!

An odd little cold snap has come to the Battenkill Valley. This morning it was 31 degrees! No big deal and actually a delight to the goats, horse, and sheep but a fright for the chicken farmer with 3 week old little ones on pasture. These birds are not just for me but for a few friends who live nearby. They have entrusted me to raise up some fine freezer birds for their larder and that extra responsibility has me upping my chicken game to new heights.

These birds are starting to get their adult, insulating, feathers but do not have them yet. They may have been fine on dry hay last night out of the wind but I played it safe. I installed a heat lamp, covered the entire thing in wind-proof tarp, and before I went to bed I covered them up with a heavy quilt. I snapped this picture of the camp right before the quilt went over top the meaties. When I looked out my window at the dark farm I had to giggle at the sight of the glowing green chicken tractor. Do you know those images of fancy mountaineering tents in catalogs in dark wilderness where the only light is the glow of a tent? That is what it looked like outside. So I nicknamed it basecamp with Gibson, who was disappointed he couldn't see the chicks he likes terrorizing as he runs circles around the tractor...

This morning as I removed the gear I was a little worried a few chicks would be dead but they all made it. This little measure of prevention only took moments and I already had the lamp and extension cords. Now I need to build a second tractor, and more as they grow into their adult bird size. Whew!

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