Monday, December 7, 2009


It's been cold here. We have been experiencing what our local meteorologists are enjoying referring to as the "ARCTIC BLAST". Whatever anyone calls it, it is making it quite inconvenient for O.N.A.T.T.C.'s (Oregonians Not Accustomed To True Cold) to water their critters.

Ice is suddenly a cumbersome factor to deal with:

Water buckets and stock tanks freeze, ice must then be broken:

As you can see, I have all the appropriate tools for the job. The picture below is me cracking the ice with the handle of the toilet brush I use to scrub the inside of the buckets when they get dirty:

and then scooping out the ice shards with an aquarium net:

Bottom line, though, it gets the job done, which is what counts, right?:

This was before it got even colder, though, and last night the ice became thicker. Early this morning, we hit our lowest low to date this year: 14.7 degrees. This is very cold for Northwest Oregon. The ice on the stock tank was thick; I had to use a broom handle to break it today:

Here is my goats', Pete and Reggie's, water bucket after I cracked the surface. The little goat berries were frozen solid and couldn't be budged:

Workarounds are necessary when faucets and hoses freeze. Here is the bucket I use to tote warm water from the laundry room down to the chicken coop:

Here is my helper. Maybe someday he'll carry that bucket of water for me:

With the forecast predicting even colder temperatures to come, last night, I put up the heat lamp in the chicken coop just in case I suddenly decided it was needed:

Dottie, ever the curious, is always the first to scope the new stuff out:

Everyone was anxious to see everything in the new light:

Bippity was the first to move in for a closer look:

I have to believe she was seeing stars after this:

Pretty soon, everyone was roosting under the warmth of the light and it wasn't even dark yet! So, I unplugged the light.

Last year, I turned on the heat lamp for them when the temperatures dipped below 22. This year, my chickens have just seemed hardier to me and, since it was still 25 degrees when I went to sleep last night, I decided not to turn on the lamp. When I awoke, I was concerned to see the coop thermometer read only 18.7 degrees (yes, I have a digital thermometer in the coop that I can read from the house):

Fortunately, everyone was just fine this morning. I am so impressed with the hardiness of my birds. This called for a celebration of warm oatmeal and pasta:

And even despite the cold, I had two eggs waiting for me in the coop nest box:

Two gifts from my girls on a day where the temperature never made it above freezing:

And this is what awaited me when I stepped out of the coop:


  1. Great post! Amazing ice, I am so surprised with the thickness, yet I guess that's what the temperatures in the teens does to water!

    And eggs too! Awesome! My daughter's girls are really slowing down these days. She only had 4 eggs out of her 19 hens today.

  2. You have goat berries in the water bucket? Not good. Ha!

    I really like your digital coop thermometer. Good idea!

  3. H-H-Hot here ! Today was 36c (95f) and tomorrow is suppose to be even hotter, 38c (102f).
    So I am trying to keep my chookies cool,whilst you are battling to keep your warm!

  4. The water with this cold IS the biggest pain in the patootie, isn't it? Yesterday I had to haul out a couple of gallons of hot water - about ten times during the day - to melt down and warm up the girls' water. They actually get REALLY excited when they see me coming with that warm water - what a hoot!

  5. Ice---eeewwww! Heat lamp---(((warm sigh)))
    Chester the helper ---((swoon)).

    Were the eggs frozen?

  6. Ugh...I am not a fan of winter. I'm just sayin'...That shot of Bippity looking at the light is way too funny. I'm glad everyone is surviving the cold snap.

  7. Oh my gosh your blog today is exactly what I have been doing for the past several days. Same water trough. Same green and red bucket. Heat lamp in the coop to keep the water from freezing. Same piles of ice. And tonight it is suppose to be colder!!!! Hang in there. According to the weather forecast only a few more days of this frigid cold. Brrrrrrrr.

  8. Okay, you simply must take the goatmother's advice and purchase one of those wonderful heated buckets. It only comes on enough to keep the water from freezing, but we SO appreciate not having to lick ice!

  9. Wow, that is cold! Makes me shiver just thinking about it! It's great that you have chickens that can withstand it, and still give you eggs! I've been lucky so far, and haven't had any water freeze yet.

  10. Blech....Ice. Blech....Cold. Blech....I bet your hands are getting chapped and cracked from all that water and ice activity. If you look on the third shelf in the closet, I bet youll find some really great lotion that does wonders for that. Snort.
    Dang it...I wish I could be there to help out. Im good at carrying water up to the goat house. :-)
    That heat lamp makes ME want to sit in the chicken coop. It looks so cozy in there with that on. But, okay, I see that the temp is reading really damn cold in the coop by your thermometer....please tell me that the lower number is not the temperature in your house.(Ahem...Mr. Jim)
    Chester is a great helper...I mean, even if hes only able to offer moral support right now. Such a good boy.

  11. Al Gore must be rolling in his....oh crap that doesn't work here does it!! I hope it warms back up to normal Danni.
    Did I tell you I love Chester!s

  12. Ok, I'm a new chicken mamma...Am I keeping my coop way too warm? My chicken babies are only 2 months old, but I keep it in the 70's in there at the coldest. I just didn't know they could be that cold! The coop is warmer than my house! I found my my mother who's visiting for the holidays was spending time in the chicken coop just to get warm (plus it's always entertaining watching the little guys and gals!) You have hardy birds!

  13. Chester simply has stolen my heart. Look at him waiting for you at the chicken coop!
    I am very concerned about the freezing temperatures for your animals. I know it is a full time job for you just to keep them alive. (In Oregon we are not used to such extremes!) I am able and willing to help you break some ice and warm you up with some good, hot food.

  14. That's the same kinda brush I use on my buckets! We're in the middle of a huge snow storm. Some are calling it the "storm of the decade".

  15. Hey! Is that my goat bucket?
    This morning I saw the same color bucket next to the goat house with the same ice in it. I had to go get a hammer and that ice water was COLD. What has happen to the West Coast. This is like Montana or Idaho..., not Oregon and California. Burrrrrr....

  16. Brrrrr....I'm in Southwest Washington and we are not prepared for these kinds of cold snaps! I have been carrying hot water out to the animals all week! My camel isn't anymore help than you donkey in the water carrying business! Stay warm...Kim


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