Chickens Won’t Walk in the Snow

We’ve had our first real snow of the season here in south St. Louis.  The chickens are not pleased.

The backyard covered in snow.One of the big problems for them is that it never really gets dark here when there is snow on the ground.  Three of my chickens are retired layers from a farm.  The first two nights they were here they totally freaked out about going to bed.  It’s not quiet here, it’s not dark.

It’s really a beautiful snow, I have no idea why the chickens won’t walk out in it.  This is a problem.  The other thing about cities is they are stocked with predators.  Dr. Trivia’s 500 cats are not going to let a night go without checking to see if I put the chickens away.  Normally in the evening I just have a seat and wait until they all decide to mill about and into bed.  Generally by 8 o’clock they have all headed into the coop and I can close the pop hole and get back inside.  I can’t even sit them out, my chair is covered in snow.

This seemed like an ideal time to use the evil dog for good.  He loves to chase the chickens so I went to send him under the porch where I can hear them (not the wisest of all plans) fortunately I forgot that I moved the rain barrel closer to the back stairs so no dogs can get under there.  It would have been a bad plan.

I can’t find a flashlight so I grab the camera and head out to see if I can find them.  Today was pork liver keep away sporting day for the chickens, so they’ve had a great day trying to tackle each other in their little selfish ways.  They were still tackling each other when the snow started up so they rushed under the porch on the way back to the coop and apparently sat down.

I found “little red hen” first.  She want’s to go to the coop and just can’t quite summon up the courage to go.  I have left these unpatched holes under the porch this spring because I thought it might provide some cover when the chickens need to escape.  I had a raptor get one about a month or two ago.  I thought there were enough shrubs in the yard, but no.  So we have this weirdly patchy double thing going on and a water barrel so I am not at all ever going to get under this porch tonight.  To the left the grates are covered in grape and kiwi vines as well.  Sigh.

So where are the rest of the girls?  Perching on metal pipes under the porch.  Jeez.  Metal?  Really ladies?  You won’t walk 10 feet in the snow, but standing on metal seems fun?  I can’t get them out.  Gigantor the Possom that lives in the abandonded building across the street, or the 500 cats, or the raptor that hunts at dawn are going to swoop them up in the morning because they are not smart little creatures.

Look at this warm and inviting coop!  It’s got a tarp, a heat lamp, plenty of wind blocks.  It’s nestled all nicely on the north side of my neighbors house.  You would think one of them would be brave and go.

Sigh.

So, there is some good that comes from the snow.  I can see how effectively my compost pile it working.  The answer is, it’s just not.  I will need to give it some attention in the next couple of days in an effort to get it doing what it needs to do again.  Do you know how I can tell?  There is snow on it.  It’s not warm at all.  Thinner snow than the rest of the yard, but not by much.  This is my cheater pile of last year’s debris waiting to be spread out in spring hopefully after it has broken down.  Hauling it to continue breaking down does not seem optimal.

This picture shows pretty accurately how bright it is out there.  Will I have any chickens tomorrow?  I go to bed with a queasy stomach thinking about it.

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3 responses to “Chickens Won’t Walk in the Snow

  1. Our chickens wouldn’t step foot in the snow either this year…they preferred the comfort of the coop once they saw the snow. Luckily here in Ohio it has been a very mild winter, so their first winter wasn’t so bad after all.

    • Fortunately they survived the night and the hawk didn’t get them. I did have to chase the hawk out of my yard a couple of days ago though. I never thought I’d have to deal with red tailed hawks, racoons and possoms, yes, hawks, no. Winter has been really mild here too. I keep wondering when we are going to get it.

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