Friday, January 2, 2015

Surviving Winter On The Farm

The eleven fantail pigeons seem to have settled in for the winter and are doing well. They've formed their own little pigeon society with different allegiances and personalities which seem to me to be more complex than what happens in the flock of chickens:

The pigeons have paired off and I expect there will be more babies next summer. There's one bird without a mate, but I've read that pigeons are not as monogamous as they pretend to be, and indulge in quite a bit of hanky panky when the opportunity arises:

The chickens are still recovering from their autumn molt and seem to be in a holding pattern, just passing the time awaiting spring. I am happy that they all get along so well and downright miraculous that I have two roosters who tolerate each other and never fight:

We've had alternating cold and warm spells which has caused a lot of ice. The ice buildup on the roof began to slowly slide off, causing the icicles to push into the windows and screens below the eave:

I scrambled outside to break off the icicles before a window or screen got broken:

This is the view from my upstairs (bathroom) window, with my neighbors' friendly horses, a red barn and a bubbling brook. It's very scenic:

The Red Poll girls sleep outdoors almost every night despite my leaving the door open for them, but they rush in for grain whenever I ring the bell:

I move the hay bale feeder when each bale is almost gone. This leaves them a bed of hay for the night and, I hope, will prevent another ruined bale feeder in the spring:
With snow on the ground, there isn't much for the girls to do besides hang around the bale feeder:

Except, of course, when the westerly winds are too strong. Then they hide behind the barn:

Rosella is growing at an amazing rate. She's smart, playful and curious, regarding me as some strange creature who provides grain but should otherwise not be allowed to get too close. I frequently find her standing three feet away from me and watching me with fascination:

Scarlett and then a few other cows developed bald spots on the back of their necks which probably meant winter lice. So I treated them, but the spots continued to grow. I then dusted the spots with louse powder and now they seem to be decreasing. The neighbors believe it's merely from rubbing against the bale feeder and stanchion, as is happening in this picture. They may be correct, but I've taken precautions just in case:

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