Knock DOWN is more like it !
Yesterday was interesting... I am still doing battle in convincing my hens that they simply cannot survive by living in an open row barn. It seems chickens do not walk in snow- EVER. Fact.... proven fact at our farm.
Saturday was a snowy day- we got a mere 3-4" of snow and that suited me just fine. Apparently this small snow storm was not suiting The Girls- OR R.C. I tried to herd them all as a group out of the empty stalls, along the pathway ( yes, I did clear a path for their little chicken feet- imagine that) and therefore- out to where their hen house was easy to see. The horses had already created a way for them to go, but it didn't work as I planned.
First hen, when she realized that SNOW was the only route to take, freaked out, and tried to fly over it all. Well, that didn't work and there she was , up to her feathered tummy in cold snow. The others ? Oh- much more wise.... they turned around and RAN as fast as their legs could carry them , in the opposite direction. Back to where we all started...< sigh> So, trying again, singing the 'chicken feed song' at the top of my lungs ( my neighbors have to think me crazy) I enticed maybe 2 hens to follow along behind me. Yep- to the edge of the snow. I gave up and finally put up some barriers in front of the stalls , tossed them some scratch, got a bucket of water and wished them all luck.Chickens pay No attention to our tales of "monsters" coming from the forest at night, it seems.
Next morning- Sunday- there they all were- safe n' sound. I gave them breakfast, re-filled their water bucket and went about the normal AM chores.( whewwwww) Glenn had walked up with me to help out some which I appreciated since I kept all of the horses stalled. ( Ice had been predicted and wind too) That meant 10 dirty stalls , 10 horses to get out into pastures for the day, breaking ice in water tubs so there was water, and putting plenty of fresh green hay out for each horse. THEN I could begin on the "in the barn" chores.
While Glenn was filling the horse stall water buckets, I got the hay all put out for all of the horses. I then took the beasties out for the day, with my wonderful husband helping. It had been a LONG time since he'd been up to help at the barn, so he didn't know all the things to get done, but he did really well. Once all of the horses were outside in the snow, I got busy on those stalls. Not having to lug 18 buckets with dirty water in them really made a difference on my 'not so healthy' back. Some horses have two water buckets in their stalls- one heated one and one non- heated. That way there is Always some water for them to drink. Horses need as much water in winter time as they do in summer. Perhaps a little more, if you think of what they eat all winter... dry feed, dry hay,dry winter grasses... Impaction colic is a serious problem and I find it's MUCH better to prevent it, than deal with it. So- water is of an utmost item for the horses here.
Anyway, as I was writing. I got all of the chores done by 11:30 AM and started down to the house to warm up my toes and fingers. I thought that I'd go into the two drafter turnouts to be sure there was no ice - but water for them. BoJangles did not like being ALL Alone (in reality, Abby was in the pasture right beside him)- he couldn't see his bestest pal, Lynn and, therefore, he had no one to tell him what to do. He'd been pacing up n' down the fenceline, almost frantic at not being able to see his pasture pal.
That's where I made a mistake. I had a shovel ( plastic snow) with me to remove the ice, and Abby was most grateful. Then I walked thru the snow on semi frozen feet out to Bo's pasture.
Well - HE thought I was coming to 'save' him- by swinging the gate open so he could then gallop thru Abby's pasture, up the hill lane and into the barn so he could find his pal, Lynn.
I had to yell at him to prevent his taking off, thru the unopened gate and over me. He whirled around and took off across the pasture, bucking and farting his opinion about my yelling at him.
He came galloping back towards the gate and I figured that I was the target. Brandishing my little shovel, I tried to sound totally bonkers and look oh so scary. It worked- but then, he turned around, and not seeing me at all, hit me with his shoulder, knocking me right over. Splat- RIGHT into a most soggy area full of reeeeeeeeeeeeeally cold water! I laid there, wallowing about trying to get my feet under me, as Bo trotted off in total Shock. Oh, MY- he'd knocked over the BOSS MARE- and that surely meant he was going to be chopped up into small pieces and cooked or even worse- not get fed that evening. So there I was- freezing my butt off trying to get up, or at least out of the big puddle, and it wasn't working well. My goose down vest was soaked, and weighing me down. Finally I got up to my knees, and had to then laugh at Bo's antics. His eyes were WIDE open in terror and his head was well over 12' in the air, watching his boss mare flounder about in the snow and water.
Poor Bo... he had a tough life before he came to live at our barn, and now ? Even worse- the 'Boss' wasn't acting well at all. In fact, he hadn't Ever seen her behaving like she was now...
Once I got up, it all got a little funny. Bo came trotting up to me and shoved his big ol Percheron face in my chest full of apologies for being so big and clumsy. I hugged him back and rubbed his face, telling him that I forgave him- and thank you for Not stepping on me with those giant feet of his.
By the time I got into the house, it Was Funny.... telling Glenn about the excursion into the drafter pastures and then why my whole backside was soaking wet made the day.
Moral of this story--- don't ever think a horse is watching out for you when he's hysterical.
Have a great day, everyone.
I'm going to try to add a short video here of BoJangles FINALLY getting to go up to the barn later on that evening.