Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winter weather brings tough times

Winter may be a time of fewer hours to work outside, and fewer projects ongoing... but winter is also the most dangerous time of the year. This is especially true for birds. The cold combined with constant wetness is a bird's enemy.
Sadly, we lost a few young chickens this last weekend from the storms that blew in. The young birds were the smallest in the new pasture coop. They apparently chose to roost in the coop corners instead of up on the roost bars. With blowing cold rain this is deadly. Once a young bird gets wet, there is little hope for them.  Fortunately out of the 300 or so chickens of the next flock only about 2 dozen were lost.
To help them through this week we added another tarp to provide protection from the wind on the ground. We also put a bale of straw in to provide warm bedding in case they chose to stay down again. Finally we triple fed... to make sure there is plenty of fuel in their system to keep them warm.
This morning will tell if these efforts worked. At end of day yesterday some birds were still weak.
A grim reality of nature is that this is not necessarily bad. Nature uses harsh weather to enforce survival of the fittest and thereby strengthen the flock as a whole. Without this effect, genetics degrade over time and the entire flock suffers. A farm operation that relies on producing young instead of buying from a breeder or hatchery must pay attention to this rule of nature. There is a careful balance between preserving life and preserving positive genetics. The bottom line is... some losses are good for the overall health of the flock, and this is demonstrated in nature each year.
So... we do what we can to provide for nature focused lives. No extraordinary measures, no neglect. Somewhere in between is where live thrives.

No comments:

Post a Comment