Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snow, Chickens, and Guineas

Here comes the snow!
It has been snowing for a few hours already tonight.  Big, wet, sticky flakes. 

Tonight I ventured out into the snow after dark to check on the chickens. 
We close up the chicken door after dark to keep some heat in the coop - Randy had told me he closed up the little chicken door already, then he went out to visit some friends down the street.  I thought I'd check on the chickens since I hadn't seen them all day.  It was good that I decided to visit my chickens - the front door into the coop was partially open.  The chickens couldn't get out, there's another door that goes into the coop, but the snow would have gotten into the front door and made it wet and warped it. 
I made sure to close the door tight when I left.

When I went into the coop the chickens were all sleeping on their roosts.
When I visit them at night I use a small flashlight and don't turn on the overhead light.  If I turned on the overhead light the chickens would start a nighttime party in the coop when they should be sleeping~ My chickens love to start parties at nighttime...  They'd be walking around the coop, some of them would suddenly realize they were starving and they'd have to raid the feeder.  Every single bird would have to have a drink from the waterer.  They'd be chatting with each other.  A few pecking order fights would break out.  Before I knew it one of the boys would be having sex with one of the hens.  The rest of the roosters would start crowing. Everyone would want to sit on my lap or be held.  Crazy chickens!
And so, I use a small flashlight to minimize the interruption and keep them sleeping.  All 26 birds were sleeping in the coop tonight.  A few had their heads tucked under their wings. 
I woke up and held a few hens, rubbing their soft necks.  I love sleepy birds, they are so sweet.  

When I made my way back to the house after 10 minutes in the coop, my previous footprints weren't even visible in the snow anymore.  The snow had already covered them.  Here's some pictures of the backyard snow after I returned from the coop.

Using a big flashlight I could see a small herd of deer in the backyard, hunkering down in the snow.  They weren't visible in these pictures, although they were out there!

I worry about my guinea fowl.  I spied them up in the huge pine tree over the chicken coop tonight when I went out to the coop.  They sleep every night in the pine tree.  So far we haven't lost any guineas this winter.  I don't know how they don't freeze. 
A few nights ago an owl attacked them at nighttime.  They were screaming bloody murder ~ Randy and I went running out at 9pm with huge flashlights and found the guineas scattered all over the front yard on the ground.  They are never on the ground after dark.  They were chased away from their roosts in the pine tree by what we believe was an owl.  They screamed, separated, one hid under a car, the rest of them went into different trees all around the yard up near the house.  Throughout that night I heard them screaming, poor birds.  Come morning they were all still alive, although one had lost some feathers from his back.  They all gather at daybreak in front of the chicken coop where Randy gives them hot water and guinea food.
We're supposed to get approximately 10 inches of snow tonight.  That's what the weatherman said before my satellite TV went out.  We can't have cable TV out here, and the satellite goes out whenever there's a bad storm.

And so the latest winter storm begins here in Maryland.
At least I still have power! For now!
I'm sure I'll be posting more pictures soon!
Goodnight, all.


Chai Chai said...

I'm so happy that our surviving guineas decided to spend their nights in the coop with the chickens. An owl devoured a rabbit right outside the coop yesterday so I'm sure the guineas wouldn't make it outside.

Your guineas must be very aware to avoid the owls attack. Ten inches of snow is huge, maybe they will cancel your work tomorrow!

CaliforniaGrammy said...

Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry about the poor guineas being so frightened! Ten inches of snow . . . I can't even imagine that much snow. We are having such spring-like weather, but I'm sure our winter couldn't possibly over. It makes me think we'll be in for some big weather soon.

Terry said...

The photos are just beautiful.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Wow, Lynn ... I feel like I was right there with you as I was reading this. The snow... it sounds/looks so pretty and peaceful to me, the gal who is living in a place where the expected high is 57 degrees tomorrow. Don't like the owl part, though... how awful to worry about your guineas every night. I would be in tears over their screaming. You can't convince them to go inside at night, huh?

I'm crossing my fingers you don't lose power. And I'm with Chai Chai - maybe you won't have to go to work tomorrow!

Ronna said...

I love your snow shots! And those poor guineas. I'd love to see photos of them one day!
I know about satellite TV. I also lose my Internet connection which is also by a (different) satellite. One of the pains of living in the country, eh?
And I've just been on the roof, taking off snow and ice. Remember: spring is only a few months away...and sooner for you than me!

Verde Farm said...

Beautiful snow! How neat to see a group of deer hunkered down in your yard. Such a great scene. So sorry the guineas got ran out by an owl. I love the guineas and I know you all do too. Glad nothing has happened. I don’t know how they don’t freeze either. Some really cold nights our peacocks stay outside and I just know they won’t make it but they have. Crazy!

Toni aka irishlas said...

We wound up with a little over a foot and a power outage! But, we made it through just fine as always.

I love your description of the chicken party. It's so true! We use a flashlight also, but even then, it's enough for them to wake up a coo at us. Or maybe they're telling us to shut off the bloody light!

Stay dry!

Genny said...

Wasn't it wonderful? I LOVE snowstorms. The wind blew and the snow swirled, and it was beautiful. We got over a foot of snow here. It came down so fast. I'm so loving it. MORE SNOW!! How cool that you were able to see the deer in the backyard.

Razzberry Corner said...

Chai Chai - I wish our guineas could go inside at night, just for the warmth. I feel bad for them out in the cold all night. They seem to always have at least one of them on watch. I like having a large guinea flock, they are safer with numbers.

CA Grammy - is your spring-like weather gone? I haven't paid attention to the weather channel for your area lately. But I know we are going to get another big storm soon!

Terry - Thanks!

Danni - Yes, I did have to go into work the day after the storm. But many others didn't, so the Washington DC traffic was light the next day. It was nice to not have gridlock!

Ronna - I'm dreaming of and wishing for spring!!

Amy - I've seen some peacocks on farms here in MD - I think they look so neat with that feather on their heads. I'm going to look into peacocks next!!

Toni - Ugh, power outage! :(

Genny - You got so much more snow over in your area. It's funny how an hour's drive can make a difference in the weather!