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Keep Poultry Water Thawed Longer

Keep Poultry Water Thawed Longer

Keep Poultry Water Thawed Longer

Disclaimer: I learned how to keep poultry water thawed longer from Staci at A Chick and Her Garden. Check out her blog. I found her when she shared this method in a Fb group and then couldn’t find her again weeks later. Thanks to Staci for emailing me this morning. I have to tell you how gracious she is – she’s humbled that so many people appreciate her method. I’ve added her blog to my Feedly so I don’t miss new posts. Although I’m not writing many entries here these days I am reading quite a few new-to-me blogs.

I was skeptical. It gets really cold here! The closer the temperature is to 32°F the longer the water stays open, of course, but this makes a big difference as low as 0°F. My ducks and chickens get their water in a Fortex pan in the pen and a small Fortex bowl in the hen house. I doubt this would work well in the solid plastic water with a white top and red bottom that I use in the warmer months.

Fill a 20 ounce drink bottle with 1/4 cup of salt and hot water. Place the bottle in the water pan. It won’t keep the water from freezing but it will keep it accessible longer. It took two days for the birds to figure out that if they pecked at the open water around the bottle they could get to more. The water in the bottle never freezes but the water in the pan does eventually freeze solid on the coldest days.

Switching Bottles

I have two sets of bottles. One set is always in the pans. When it’s very cold I bring the second set in and warm them in the pot of water kept on the wood stove for moisture. The water pans are very cold so I take hot water. By the time it’s poured into the cold pans and the birds are let out it’s cooled down to warm. Instead of making three or four trips a day to the hen house and pen I’m making only two, morning and evening. Animals need to be well hydrated to stay warm most efficiently.

A few people have asked if I’m making the birds less hardy by giving them warm water. I don’t believe so. They’re surviving -25°F nights so they’re certainly hardy. I do believe I’m making those long nights easier by keeping them well hydrated and healthy.

poultry water, chicken water, winter

As simple as this!
Fortex pan, keep poultry water thawed





They weren’t expected until the weekend. Chicklets! Beauty hid a nest in the back corner of the hen house, an old cabin turned pig barn turned hen house, longer ago than I realized. When I returned from the writing retreat Steve informed me of the eggs in the nest. Alrighty then. We’ve paring down, remember? There are only two of us in this household now. We need egg control.Gave away nine ducks, allowed Sweetie to hatch only three eggs for replacement layers.  I’m reasonably sure by the way, that they are two hens and a roo. Paring down – and there are six or seven more eggs in the nest. I’m pretty sure I counted six when I got home. I think it’s Sweetie. She’s probably laying again.

chicklets, chicks hatching
second chicklett
bantam silkie chicks, two If you’re local and you’d like a few chicks in about a month you’re welcome to some of these chicklets. They’re bantam Silkies, Buff x White and full Buff. I can’t tell the difference. Sweetie’s chicks are White x Buff and look all buff so far.

Birds! That Day Went to the Birds

Birds! That Day Went to the Birds

That Day Went to the Birds!

Ray the raven has been making a pest of himself. He lands in the duck pen to have a drink of water from their pool. The ducks don’t like big birds but they’ve gotten used to Ray. Being an opportunist, if a duck laid an egg in the pen Ray made it his morning snack, and I missed that until I found egg shells a couple of times. And then he began to let himself into the coop to steal eggs. Beauty, one of my pound and a half Silkie bantam hens, met him on the ramp to the bird door and nailed him. I had a good laugh over that incident, Ray learned a lesson, and I didn’t see him for over a week.

Birds. Most days I love the roosters. Other days I want to whack their heads off and have chicken for supper.Click To Tweet

Steve forgot a few eggs in the high tunnel when he tended to Sweetie and her three chicks, and he left them on the back porch so they wouldn’t be mixed in with the good eggs. Ray stole one of the eggs, and he got away with it.

Bright and Early

Yesterday morning, bright and early, deep in thought while writing, a noise caught my attention. A little big of banging and scrappling was blamed on a red squirrel. I half-listened for the snap of the live trap. It wasn’t until I got up for more coffee that I knew it was Ray the jerk. I scared him away but he got the egg and flew off into the trees across the road. Ray, one. Robin, zero.

I filled my coffee and scanned the backyard for bears. They’re being pests right now. Unlike Ray, I can’t let bears get away with anything. No bears, but the roosters were fighting. I went out to break them up.

birds, ducks, loose ducks, electro netNext cup of coffee, scanned the yard, and half of the ducks were loose. I went out to put them back and found Romeo, the lighter colored and older of the two roosters, tangled in the electro net fence (it isn’t plugged in) and soaking wet. He managed to get tangled at the pool, probably while fighting with Bud, the younger rooster, and was trapped standing up in the water. I freed Romeo and put him in the coop to dry off. That was a mistake. The thumping and bumping and screeching started instantly. It seems like a soaking wet two pound rooster that just got his ass kicked by a swimming pool would want to slink off, dry out and regain some dignity…but he didn’t. He’s the aggressor in this war. I hopped the electro net and charged in like a boss thinking they’d stop fighting…but they didn’t.

birds, buff silkie, roosterI nudged Romeo away from Bud, pushing him a few feet back. I thought I was separating them but really I was giving him a running start for his next attack. He nailed Bud each time. On the fifth separation I gave him a lift five feet backward. He did the stop, drop and roll thing, and went right back after Bud. He did it the sixth time, too. “Dammit, birds, knock it off.” I picked him up off Bud and took him outside, depositing him in the tall grass on the other side of the fence. “Cool it, would you?”

Juvenile Ravens

birds, juvenile ravenHave you ever heard the squawking of young ravens? It sounds like something’s being tortured. Two adult ravens and three fledglings landed in the tallest trees around the coop. I don’t know if it was Ray, he’s been alone most of the time. Probably it was, and he probably brought his brats offspring over to teach them how to steal eggs. And. I. Wasn’t. Having. It. I’ll not be outsmarted by birds without putting up a good fight.

I grabbed rocks from the garden and lobbed them at the crows. I throw like a three year old so it didn’t do me much good, but they did fly away. Ugh! Birds!

Roosters Can Be Jerks

silkie, rooster, bantam, birds, chicken Later, I heard an odd noise coming from the behind the house. “Seriously? You guys are assholes.” I went out to untangle Romeo and Bud as they fought with the fence between them. Bud freed himself as I got there but Romeo was hopelessly tangled. I threatened him when the thunder started. “If there’s a single bolt of lightening I’m going to the house and you are on. your. own.” I untangled him from the twisted mess as the rain started, and marched his feathered little ass to the high tunnel. “You’re here for the night.” He went to work catching grasshoppers.

This morning Romeo is roaming the garden with Beauty and Tizzy, scratching up weeds, and eating bugs. Bud is in the doorway, on his side of the fence where he belongs, and crowing up a storm. The ravens were here earlier but  they squawked and made their presence know so I was able to drive them off as they landed in the ash trees across from the back porch. “NO EGGS FOR YOU,” I wanted to yell. It’s a good thing we don’t have neighbors.

THIS day is not going to the birds. Or maybe it is. There are four ducks loose already. birds