Friday, January 3, 2014

Snow and Chickens and Guineas

We got our first big snowstorm of 2014 already, as has much of the country!  We only got maybe 3 - 4 inches of snow.  It sure looks pretty, but with the wind it is cold outside!

This is the guinea roosting pine. It's a huge pine that sits above the chicken coop.  The guineas will not come down out of the tree today.  I was worried that they were frozen, but they don't appear to be.  The song birds live through snowstorms, why wouldn't a guinea fowl?  But I worry still.

I found the guineas up in the tree snuggled up and singing quietly.  Do you see them in the below photo?

They light colored guineas stand out in the green of the pine.

Our chickens hate snow and cold and refuse to go out from their coop.  We have heat lamps and heaters in the coop, and put the waterer in the coop, trying to keep it from freezing.  This morning the water had ice in it but wasn't frozen solid.  I tell you, it's cold out there!  I don't blame the chickens for wanting to stay inside!

In the below photo is Doritos, the red sex link in upper left.  Bottom left is Charlotte, who's a senior lady- she's one of the original chicks from 4 years ago.  The big bird in the center front is Big Bonnie, the former shelter hen, and Muffin the lead rooster is behind her.  The two white leghorns are named Pringles.  We have four Pringles - I can't tell them apart so they all were named Pringles.

From left: Doritos, Ruffles, another Doritos, Zoner, Freckles, part of Little Muff (son of Muffin).  Little Muff will step up and be our lead rooster when Muff Sr. passes away.  Muff Sr. is getting older.  The black bird you can barely see in the front is Holly, daughter of Muffin.

When chickens are all penned up in a coop bad things are sure to happen.  They get bored and start picking on each other.  The younger birds are usually lower in the pecking order, literally.  This morning I went out to check on the birds and found one of the Pringles had a bloody head.  Red blood splattered all over a white bird just asks for the others to continually peck at her.

I brought Pringles in and bathed her head.  She didn't mind.  She loved to look at herself in the mirror - she was amazed by her reflection.  I washed her head then blowed dried her.  I went over her whole body with the blow drier - my birds always LOVE to be blow dried.  The problem was that her comb had been bitten and had bled all over her white feathers.  The comb was fine, it had already stopped bleeding.  But the other birds had pecked her bloody head and made bruises on the left side of her head near her ear.  If I hadn't separated her they could have pecked her till she had a big open wound.  The photos were taken post-bath.

Luckily I got to her in time and she was fine.  I returned Pringles to the broody hen coop, where we have two broody hens sitting on eggs.  Pringles needed a break from the other hens.  She loved having a coop mostly to herself - the broody hens just sit ont heir nests and don't move much, leaving Pringles the run of the coop.  Later today I'll return her to the regular chicken coop.

I hope everyone enjoys the snow and keeps an eye on their chickens in their coops!  Stay warm!