Today I was up early, I’d ordered a delivery of fuel and previously I’d been first on the delivery schedule and the tanker was outside my door at 8am. No tanker today but I was greeted with an amazing sunrise.
Actually there was no delivery at all today, somehow my order had been forgotten so it will be an early start again for me tomorrow.
While there was a frost this morning it’s nowhere near the –18C we got down to during the cold spell. That day is being described as the coldest for around 50 years so it looks like 2012 will be another of those years that are not usual.
During the coldest bit I noticed my oldest cockerel, Mr L was looking a bit dejected and hiding in the corner of the chicken shed. I didn’t think too much about it as he’s at least 5 years old and I though he might be feeling his age. The following day he was on the floor where I could get to him and that’s when I could see that something was very wrong. Up until that point I didn’t realise that wattles could freeze but it turns out they can and Mr L’s large wattle was swollen and frozen solid, so much so he couldn't lift his head properly.
Once I realised the problem I brought him inside in front of the range and hand fed him as the frozen wattle stopped him from being able to pick up food himself. Once he had started to warm up we transferred him to the shower cubical – the only place big enough to contain him that was in the warm. He remained there, or on the patio if it was warm and sunny, for a few days until the wattle had defrosted. I then put him back in the chicken house as the really cold weather was over and he was missing his Lacey Ladies. It’s taken about 5 days for him to settle back in but he’s now reclaiming his dominant place in the pecking order.
The lower half of the wattle has withered but apart from that he’s better than he was before the cold spell. I think Mr L had the problem because he had a magnificently large wattle and he probably got it covered in snow and then we had the deep freeze, but I now know that wattles can freeze, although hopefully I won’t need to worry about that for another 50 years.