For the last month or so, we've had 6 to 8 inches of snow on the ground most of the time. It's drifted higher in some places and there's less than that in others. In addition, we've had night time temperatures as low as -10F with most nights being right around the 0F mark, warming up to from 5F to 15F during the day.
|Taken a few days ago. Looks the same today. At least in NE Indiana that clear blue sky usually means a cooooold night!|
|That area the girls are inspecting is essentially ice. Not too much of an issue if you have clawed toes.|
The astute among you, which I assume to be pretty much everyone, will know that when all that snow get tamped down it does not remain as simple "tamped down snow". No, no, no - It becomes ice. This means we now have our very own gently sloping ice shelf about 8 foot wide and 6 feet out from the coop, reaching around to the front of the nest boxes. This is bad news, especially for De who handles most of the chicken chores during the week. It was time for me to do something.
My first 'something' involved taking the brute force approach with the pick-axe. It quickly became clear I'm not that much of a brute and that my goal of chipping my way down to the ground was not going to be realized. The best I could do before exhausting myself was to generate some divots in the ice and rough up the surface at bit. I didn't really need the workout (I probably shouldn't have been doing it in the first place) so we'll call that attempt an abject failure. Lessons learned: 1) Mark at 54 is a far, far cry from the lean, mean brute-force machine he was as a 21 year old USMC Sergeant. (I can still hear the words of Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sergeant Schultz from Boot Camp "You privates may not be smart, but you're gonna be strong!") 2) In light of lesson #1, I need to be using my noggin far more than my back in solving this kind of problem.
After pondering other options like ice melt (gotta be bad for the birds), kitty litter (ditto, in spades), sand (didn't have any), I landed on something I did have - hay. I broke out part of a bale of hay and scattered it several inches deep around all the icy spots and, just for good measure, in front of the chicken veranda in the run.
|Hey! (or Hay!) That works pretty well!|
I have to ask myself, "Is that really the best use a partial bale of hay?" I dunno. Maybe not, but I didn't have better use for it. A more excellent solution may come to me some time in the future, but this is one I'm going to remember. Safe and happy wife, happy chickens, happy Mark. Best use or not, I'm good with it.
Col. 1: 9-12,