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2015 Midwest Winter Storm – Update on our Backyard Chickens and Goats

2015 Midwest Winter Storm – Update on our Backyard Chickens and Goats

Winter 2015 is fast upon us with us getting a heavy 8″ of snow on Super Bowl Sunday, and another 3-5″ today. The chickens have been cooped up  for the past 5 days, and haven’t been able to go outside due to the snow in the external part of the coop. Every time I come in the coop they seem pretty content, but confused on why they haven’t been able to go outside. It think a lot of the ladies are telling me that they could really use a dirt bath! 🙂 haha

Regardless, we have been continuing to get a steady 8-12 eggs from our 18 fully grown hens, which isn’t bad for the dead of winter. Our 18 chickens have been drinking about 1-1.5 gallons of heated water each day. Also I’ve noticed that since about November 2014, that our chickens have been preferring corn over our protein supplement. Over the winter they have primarily preferred bread, corn, lettuce, and final protein. I’ve normally seen a switch between summer and winter and the preferences the chickens have in regards to food. As we’ve gotten a lot of this snow the things I’ve been focusing on are ensuring they have enough food, that their water supply is sufficient (heated), and that I regularly scoop out the manure. Also as I’ve been regularly cleaning their pens, I’ve also been laying down another layer wood chips or hay. This will help keep the smell down, and absorb moisture.

Baby Goats During The Winter

Well, we have exciting and bad news!!! Our momma goat had babies during the winter! Can you say…Burrrr!!! Ya in January our three year old mother had two babies. Unfortunately both the babies couldn’t walk with their back legs, so we wrapped up their legs. We had the babies under a heat lamp in our chicken coop, but we sadly lost one of the babies (Ben’s baby). It had survived about 5 days, and I came home one day from work, and Ben says to me, “Dad, we got some bad news.” I said, “What…did you get in trouble at school?” Ben says, “No…my baby goat died today.” He runs up to me and gives me a hug and cries on my shoulder. He looks to me with tiers in his eyes and says, “At least we got a few days with him on this earth. Now he has gone to heaven, Dad!” It is so great to see a kids compassion for animals and tender caring heart. Here are a few pics from our baby goat birth.

ben's baby goat
Ben with his goat after the first day! He sure a proud dad of this little kid! 🙂

heat lamp and baby goats
Goats staying warm under the heat lamp during a cold winter day!

elijah's baby goat
Elijah the proud dad of a baby boy goat! His first ever male goat!