Sunday, December 12, 2010

Exhausting Snow and Exasperating Guineas

Rog deserves a big round of applause! After  four bouts of snowblowing today, our farm is once again accessible.  We still have a bit of  work to do on the patio. Usually I take care of that part with my wovel, but this snow is too deep, densely packed and heavy.
Any patio furniture we did not get stored away may be  snowed in until spring.
I am especially appreciative of the paths Rog snowblew to the barn, loafing shed and chicken coop. This morning I had to wade through this deep snowdrift to feed the critters. The dogs appreciate the paths, too.
I am happy to report that our water   hydrant worked in today's cold!!  Last year it froze up and I had to haul 60 gallons of water a day in 5-gallon buckets from the kitchen faucet to the loafing shed and coop for the cows and chickens. This year, Rog wrapped  the hydrant with heat tape and built a little insulated box around it. My back, shoulders and elbow are so grateful!
The biggest problem this weekend has been the guinea fowl. They had been  roosting in the barn at night, but if something frightens them they get all discombobulated and usually their response is to fly into the trees. Perhaps the guys who were  installing the solar panels startled them when they were working in the barn, but whatever it was, they were outside last night as the storm approached. I tried to shoo them into the barn, but they flew up onto the barn roof and into the trees.  I hated to leave the barn door open and risk chilling the chickens inside the barn, but I wanted the guineas to be able to go inside if they came to their senses. When I went to bed late last night the storm was raging and by the yardlight I could see one guinea struggling to stay on a tree branch in the fierce wind. I worried about that bird all night.  This morning when I went out to do the chores it was still alive, surprisingly, up in the trees with  four other guineas.
It was really cold and windy today. Guineas come from Africa, so you don't expect them to be that hardy. I put grain on the snow to try to lure them down. One guinea had icicles hanging from its wattles!

Mid-afternoon, I discovered one guinea had fallen out of the tree and was barely able to walk. I  easily caught it and put it in the chicken coop, under the  heat lamp.  An hour later, another ice-encrusted bird fell out of the tree; we caught it and put it with its companion in a crate in the coop so the chickens wouldn't pester them. I gave them food and warm water with some electrolytes added.
It looked like I was going to have to wait for each stubborn bird to get so cold it couldn't hang on any more and to fall out of the tree. But then, just as I was going out to do the evening chores, I saw one guinea plummet to the ground and scramble into the barn. I went back inside, got my camera and waited by the kitchen window. If I scared them, I knew the last two wouldn't come down.
 FINALLY, they flew to the ground and went into the barn. I rushed out and gave them warm water and food before they got settled on a roost for the night, and closed the barn door. Then I did the chores.

I will not be leaving the door open again or letting these guys out until the weather warms up. I am a bit worried that the two guineas in the coop may have frostbit feet, but they are looking more perky already.


Marie said...

you need to share this chicken story with the magazine/blog .... we've been fixing a flat tire on "fergie" the tractor so I too am a bit discombobulated - stay warm it's going to get ugly.

Toodie said...

So glad you made it through the storm even though. I am surprised the birds made it through the night. Our storm last night was awful here. Below zero and 45mph winds with some snow and sleet. Keep warm.

forever growing said...

Love it!! All of that snow already? We have had very little snow here, but this weekend we had a rainstorm to beat the band. Winds were 70 miles an hour during the night. So unusual for NH this time of year, although it has happened in the past. Counting my blessings though I need to put all of the summer stuff in the shed. Love the guinea hens in the tree. My 10 year old was asking if we could get some next year to protect her ducks and chickens from the minks and fishercats. They will drive the neighbors crazy though! Hope all is well and wish you a wonderful Christmas. Your farm looks beautiful!!

Mama Pea said...

Dumb guineas.

Beautiful pictures.

Snow envy.

Rebecca Nickols said...

Love your blog! I don't know how you got it to snow on your site, but I love it!!

Susan said...

Thanks for your kind comments, everyone.
Rebecca, I saw snow falling on somebody else's blog and thought it was so cool I searched online for a blog snow effect application.

katiegirl said...

Wow, that's a lot of snow! and I can't help but laugh at your description of the guineas falling out of the trees! Crazy stubborn birds!

Anonymous said...

I must admit, I'm not jealous at all of all the snow. Seems like we've had more than our fair share the last two winters, but I haven't even had to start the tractor yet this year. Especially those paths to the outbuildings - brings back bad memories of years past when they get cleaned out and refilled with blowing snow every day. I think the two inches we have are just fine. Is your LaFonda in honor of a character from Napolean Dynamite?