Yeah – we have heat!
The pipes are thawed and we dodged a bullet. No ruptures, breaks, or other bad things. The furnace is merrily warming our abode, hot water is circulating with nary a gurgle, all is well at the Midtown Ranch.
Collected 6 eggs from the hens (we hadn’t collected for a couple days). They were mugging for corn. Although it was -10 F outside with four hens, two heat lamps, a thick layer of shavings the coop was 32 F with the small hen door open when I tucked them in tonight. We learned in our first chicken winter back in 2005 that keeping the coop much warmer than 32 led to respiratory problems, feather plucking and vicious fighting. When it is much above freezing in the coop the chickens won’t go outside. Birds that won’t go out don’t eat or drink enough, fight incessantly, and fail to get fresh air. All kinds of problems. They basically sit on their feathered butts and gripe, bitch, and moan. So 32 inside sounds rough but it is really a kindness. We keep Chanteclers and Chantecler mixes. The white Chanteclers were designed for these temperatures by Canadian Brother Wilfred who set out to design the ideal Canadian dual purpose bird. Our girls are Partridges, developed by a different Canadian (drawing a blank on his name). He wanted to call his bird the Albertan but presumably because of the Chanteclers wild popularity his lovely birds were dubbed Partridge Chanteclers instead.
Anyway – our girls were designed for the cold and as long as the coop isn’t over warm they’ll go in and out all day, and lay right thru the winter.
Tonight they got corn and extra thanks for their lovely brown eggs. I made cookies with a couple of their eggs after dinner this evening.