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Saturday, January 7, 2017

Rhode Island Reds in the Snow (Blog 328)

Five inches of snow fell here in Botetourt County, Virginia today.  We have two flocks of heritage Rhode Island Reds, and they live in adjacent runs.  The flock we call the "Old Reds" are a year-and-a-half old and, today, seemed to remember snow from last winter.

They stayed in their hen house until it was warmer in mid-morning, and then everybody ventured out to eat snow in order to consume their water.  Elaine had placed a heated waterer in the corner of the run, but, as was true last year, this flock did not walk through the snow to reach the waterer. In short, the older flock was not intimidated by the weather.

Meanwhile, the "Young Reds," which were born in early March, experienced their first snow and were too scared to leave their hen house all morning.  I brought them some food and water, both of which they eagerly consumed, but then Elaine and I decided that our young charges needed to lose their fear of snow.  We gathered up each member of the flock, including Al our cockerel and leader of his flock, and placed each one outside in the snow.  Without exception, each young bird crumpled in fear when they were placed in the snow and seemed terrified.

But after a few seconds, each of the Reds decided to move about and went to their feeder and waterer.  We are hoping that on Sunday, the birds remember their newfound courage to take on snow.

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