Hmm... it has been an interesting morning. We have sunshine and moderate temps today. The lull between storms. A couple of inches of snow yesterday afternoon and more ice and snow expected tomorrow. Oh, the joys of winter in the midwest. At least the temperature seems to have gotten over this sub-zero nonsense.
But the cold has taken its toll. Our frost-free hydrant in the barnyard is frozen. So I had to carry the waterer for the chickens into the house to fill it in the bathtub in the basement. Justine, I will be sure to clean the tub well after the hydrant thaws.
But more mysterious is the heat lamp in the chicken coop. We have a ceramic heater (just infra-red, no light) on a thermo-cube that only comes on when it is cold (I forget the cut-off temp, I think it is 25 or 30). It helps but isn't terribly effective. So, with the really, really cold temps we've had, I replaced the regular lightbulb in the coop with a heat lamp. We've only turned it on when the temps are forecast for below -5F because it produces enough light to keep the chickens awake all night (even though it isn't supposed to because it's coated red) and they eat us out of house and home! But, back to the mystery. I know the light was off last night when I closed up the coop for the night. However, this morning, it was on and no one else has been outside. And it is on a pull chain that we have tied to the side so it doesn't make contact with the bulb. Mystery!
V's guess is that there was a bit of frost built up inside the fixture and the last time it was turned off the switch didn't fully switch to 'off' and the warm up was enough to melt the ice and turn it on. That is possible but I find it weird that it happened at night and not on some of those sunny days when the coop has been fairly warm. Who knows. Maybe one of the hens was cold and too smart for her own good. Or just fluttering too high off the roost.
The ladies have been laying well. We have been getting 8-10 eggs/day. Not too shabby from 13 hens, 9 of whom are 3 years old.
I've got some little seedlings up under the grow lights. Some chard, kale, bok choy, lettuce and spinach destined for the greenhouse. I'm itching to start my main season crops but I know it's still too early for that. But, just having little seedlings up helps with the winter blahs I've been having. But sooner than the tomatoes and peppers I long to start, I'll be starting my cool season broccoli and such. I ordered some romanesco seeds and I'm excited to see how it does. They look so awesome in a fractal-ly delicious way.
I hope you are all 'weathering' the winter well. The weather seems to have been so extreme just about everywhere this year.