Staving Off a Winter of Discontent

It’s not easy living up here where winter comes early and stays late, especially when you were raised in America’s “bread basket” and grew up with blossoms already blooming on the almond trees by mid February! 😮

Even after two decades here I still moaned about the snow and cold and made snide remarks about (other) Californian transplants and their studded snow tires in June (actually I still do that because it is pretty comical) but I have since learned to love our arctic winters, mostly because of my pack of sled doggies.

Still, the chickens don’t have the luxury of finding a winter sport to distract them until spring so we try to do what we can to make things easier on them. Like using heat lamps, insulating their coop, making sure they have plenty of fresh water and food with extra treats for added calories, and building them these tunnels that run between their pens so they can get around easily…

We put straw in them so they can walk on that instead of with their toes in the snow and they seem to appreciate it. No more frost bitten feet, but they still complain because they can’t go out to their pasture.

Sometimes it snows so much, though, that we can’t even let them have the tunnels and have to just lock them in the coops to keep them safe but even that comes with it’s risks. Having them all “cooped up” together can cause fights and injuries, but we also learned that having them in close quarters for too long can raise the humidity levels so high that the air actually causes more frost bite so we have to ventilate when we do that and it helps.

And they complain even more if they can’t have the tunnels (of course).

We use a lot of straw in the husky pens, too, but they don’t seem to mind getting their toes (and nose and everything else) buried in the snow. 😋

They only complain if they can’t come in and get cuddles regularly. Otherwise these guys LOVE winter.

This morning the younger pups were taking turns digging this hole right in the middle of one of the pens, and I couldn’t really hold it against them because all that straw makes it so the soil isn’t like permafrost which means they can still have some summertime fun in the winter. Next to mushing, there’s nothing better to a husky than digging a good hole!

And, judging by how much progress they’ve made since I came back in, I’d say it’s going to be a really good one. 😄

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