It is, as Winnie the Pooh would say, a very blustery day. In years gone by, this would not have been too much of an issue for me – I would have settled down with my editing, putting not so much as my nose out of the door. But not so now – keeping livestock means that you have to consider their needs before your own and you must venture outdoors whatever the weather. In my case, it’s only ensuring the welfare of four chickens, which doesn’t take long, but it does make me appreciate the dedication of all those farmers who care for their animals in all conditions 365 days of the year.
So, out I went in my pjs, wellies and raincoat first thing this morning to let the hens out, check their water and feed and give them a handful or two of corn. Out they pop, whatever the weather, and start to scratch around. They seem to prefer to drink from a puddle rather than their water bowl when it’s wet – I guess the mud gives it flavour!
The wind ruffles their feathers and they get soggy in the rain, but most chickens are waterproof and well-insulated and they have a dry house with perches and nest boxes, so they don’t have to be exposed to the elements. Unfortunately, however, naked chickens are not so protected from the elements and so we need to keep an eye on poor Tiffany.
A week ago she looked like this:
Just a couple of days ago, she looked like this:
And now, she’s getting lots of feathers on her back, but her rear-end is rather exposed:
Hopefully, it won’t be too long before she returns to her warm and feathery glory like Anna in the background here:
Chickens with full plumage, like Esme below, may get ruffled, but are simply not bothered by a day like today:
So, here’s to all those dedicated people who are out in the fields and on the hills caring for their cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry whatever the weather.