It’s in the teens at Leafhopper Farm and everyone has hunkered down overnight for the first of three days in freezing temperatures. When the weather gets like this, you have to pay close attention to water and warmth. Troughs are frozen solid and must be replaced daily to allow access to drinking. Sun traps are a must; allowing animals to warm up in the solar heat amplified off reflector walls such as the back of the mobile coop pictured below. The roosters are basking in a comfortable sun trap while feasting on an extra large ration of grain to keep the inner fire stoked. Combs can get frostbitten, so exposure to wind is reduced with sidewalls. The birds can tuck down as the roost to avoid drafts.
The goats are tucked away in a nice barn stall stocked with alfalfa hay, mineral, and a refreshed water bucket. They are nesting in organic straw and glad to be out of the cold too. The kids have very thick winter coats right now to keep them toasty through the night.
The hens are laying 2-5 eggs a day now and not too excited about this cold weather. It’s the slowest time of year for production, and that’s ok. Most of the bird’s energy should be spent on keeping warm and resting through the coldest, darkest time. I could put a heat lamp on them, but prefer to let the hens rest. This seems to encourage longer lasting layers with better quality eggs. Here the ladies catch the first light of morning and bask together in harmony.