Chooks in snow

As a rule the chooks do not like the snow.  (In New Zealand and Australia we call chickens: chooks and as I am a New Zealander living in America these little words from home are a comfort so bear with me).  My chooks are free range  so they can go outside and get lots of sunlight in the daytime but the pigs Tima and Tane are also free range. So to make sure the pigs do not eat the chicken’s food I feed the chickens on top of the piglets hut as a raised feeding table out in the field. Also this encourages them to come out into the daylight to eat.

rooster in snow.

It is cold, but if they are not cossetted, the chickens do very well in the cold.  Coming out of an heated area into the cold area is harder for an animal or bird to manage than coming out of the cold into the cold. This is true for humans too so be careful of over heated houses. Icy drafts, wet blowing cold – that is what can harm an animals health.  Drafts are the enemy and icy air running over their combs can give chickens frostbite. As we know from that bad year.   Compared to the winter of 2014 we have had such a mild few months so all the chooks are still fat and happy.

BooBoo loves his chickens. He is so much more reliable now than when he was little. It took some training. I have a theory that it is the fluttering and squawking and jerky runs that made him snap at them when he was younger. He thought it was his job to shut them up. Though to be fair he only ever killed one chicken  by mistake and then it was those little ducks that he thought were running away and he picked them up and carried them home.  But it needed attention.  So with him on his leash I did a lot of training in the chook house in amongst the screeching and carrying on. Every time he even looked sideways at a chicken (or a peacock or a guinea) the leash was jerked sharply and he was reminded to behave.  It did not take him too long to get used to their noise and remember to keep his mouth to himself around his feathered friends.

dog and chicken +

I am still careful though. His behaviour is my responsibility as a dog owner. So he is monitored. Do you remember when he saved the chicken and killed the Mink?.  Ever since then when we check and lock up the chickens at night he does a total and very thorough patrol, sniffing into every corner looking for more Bastard Mink. But we have not seen them for a long, long time now thank goodness. Touch wood everyone!

TonTon is very different – he will not enter the chook house at all. He has no interest in them. He spends most of his time guarding his pigs.

Anyway the chickens will come out for their dinner after a bit of grizzling about the bloody snow.

chickens at table +

Do you see the big butterfly in this shot. There is a close up below. It is not a butterfly or superman it is a chicken flying OVER the snow to get back into the coop. She does not want her feet to get wet – poor wee luvvy.

flying-chicken =

Many of them did that! Made me laugh. They really are not impressed with snow.

kunekune in snow +

The kunekunes pay no attention to the snow. It was warmer yesterday – 18F (-7C) no wind. Balmy!


Here are two shots of the cows watching the world go by.

dog in snow watched by cows

pig in snow watched by cows

They are nice and settled at the moment. Everyone knows where they are meant to be and are happy. (Touch some more wood. )

I hope you have a lovely day.

Your friend on the farm,




82 Comments on “Chooks in snow

  1. We have a storm heading our way tomorrow – 8 to 12 inches. So today I am setting the chooks up to stay in their run, no free range until the snow stops. Made that mistake one year and three of them got caught out and spent two days under the shed as they couldn’t get back to their hut!

  2. I wish I could fly like the chooks when it is icy, never mind when it snows. All the Farmy residents look contented. BooBoo loves small animals and chooks are small in his eyes. Ton can mind the big girls and boys… good division of labour.

    Celi I often wonder if you have a name for the food wagon, you cannot really call it a drive-in since it stays in the one spot all the time. Now let me think…
    Wholesome Hay.
    Cud Chewing Take away.
    Cadillac Choo Chew.

    Anyone else got ideas?

    We do not get your extremes of temperature, but our days have soggy wet cold with grey heavy low slung skies… it seems to seep into the bones it does not cause ‘Arthur – itis’ but it certainly does not help. Off to the kitchen for a day of cooking and baking… lamb stew, bolognese sauce and a Pear & ginger cake for starters!

    • Not so long ago I named it “American feeding trough” or “American cratch” because I thought a thing like that can only exist in America… hehe… So funny.

      • Decades ago, a friend of mine worked at the Cannery in San Francisco, training penguins and putting on shows for the paying public. He told me that penguins have half the intelligence of a chicken, ate 3 times their body weight in food (fish) each day AND pooped every twenty seconds. It was liquid and because of that, he had to wear knee high boots! He used a hand motion (arm extended, pointer finger pointing and a twist of the wrist) to train those penguins. Later on when he and his wife started their family, he would use the same hand motion teaching his girls. Never failed to amuse me. Much love, Gayle in snow-free Sacramento, California

  3. You and Boo are such a good team! Love the division of work between BooBoo and TonTon. They choose what they like best or where they are best at… – Great shots today (beautiful as always). Love the one of Boo and the chook best. And the KuneKune munching pic – haha! Just lovely.
    Wish you lots of sunshine, Celi!

  4. Boy, what a difference from yesterday to today! This Christmas I went to feed the chickens some veggie and fruit scraps and it was about 3pm and quite twilighty already and they were roosting. But when they saw me coming, they did that mad flight into run towards me happy for their cantelope seeds and lettuce leaves. I love that mad flight they do. 😀

    • It is funny isn’t it – mine were flying across to their food after i opened their door today and one flew straight into my back — oops, sorry, pardon me, she said as she crash landed, then picked up her skirts and ran to the feed.

  5. Is the chook feeder not part of The Starship Enterprise? GrannyMar suggestion of Cadillac Choo Chew funniest to date 🙂 Boo and Chook picture is calendar worthy. Touching wood right with you especially for the non return of the Bastard Minks. Enjoy your day. Laura

  6. I did know that pigs eat chickens ! Wow that is a new thing learned…I also had bad week , the snow caused outage of great force now we are fidge freezer less…washing machine less, microwave less and dishwasher lights for 3 days..and its been darned cold

  7. I’m glad to have the confirmation that chooks = chickens. I’d thought that, but never got around to asking anyone or looking it up. I was glad to read the post and see that the suggestion of true mayhem in the email wasn’t true. The text in the email cut off at “So to make sure the pigs do not eat the chickens….” I’d never heard of pigs eating chickens, but you never know.

    What you said about coming into the cold from the cold really resonated. When I began varnishing here on the Texas coast, the summer heat was hard to deal with. An old guy who’d done it for years said part of the trick was to live without AC as much as possible: or, absent that, to keep the thermostat at about 80. He claimed that it wasn’t the heat that was so bad, but the going back and forth from AC to heat. At least in my experience, he was right. It sounds like the same principle applies for heat and cold.

      • You know, I didn’t really even think about that. I just had this vision of… well, let’s say the vision was more pleasant for the pigs than for the chooks!

          • Where I lived for years in the far, far west of here, in an Aboriginal community, people kept pigs to eventually be turned into pork chops, and they fed them anything and everything that moved…..or didn’t……kangaroo roadkill, a cat wandering by, big lizards and bandicoots and even chickens….although these were often the carcases left over from the local’s own dinner. Those pigs were big and scary, and would run ……charge! at you if you went near their pen. I always worried a small child might fall in there! So when I read what I thought was “so the pigs don’t eat the chickens…… without seeing “food” I thought, oh yes, good idea! But your pigs have more manners….and plenty of good food.

  8. Dolly, our Blue Heeler is pretty good around birds, although she loves to herd them, especially the guineas. It’s Daphne, our German Shorthair Pointer that is the worry. As she is bred to chase birds, it’s been extremely hard to deter her from her natural instinct, and the birds she chases end up dead. It’s quite horrible, really! So she must be watched constantly. Also, Dolly always stays right with us, whereas Daphne is always running, running, running, which I suppose is in her breeding too. We have to put her on a long leash so she’ll stay around. Not the best breed for a farm dog, that’s for sure. 😦 But she is a sweetheart, always our love and attention! 🙂

      • No, and that is a part of the problem. When it warms up I’ll be back in the field with the long leash again.

    • Our old wirehair griffon once stuck his head through the cattle panel and picked up one of the chickens (he is a bird dog after all). My first thought was to yell at him but then I called him to me and he ‘retrieved to hand’ just as he was supposed to. Being a good, soft mouthed hunting dog the chicken was handed to me physically unharmed. I’m not so sure how she fared mentally but I bet she had a great story for the rest of the girls on the roost!

  9. My chickens won’t come out in the snow either. I shovel or sweep little paths for them, and sprinkle just a little straw on the paths. That brings them outside most of the time. Quite spoiled, but their eggs are worth it!

  10. Well this was a fun post, all the animals doing what they do best. Lady A is looking VERY round in those pictures as Ton leads the kunekune parade. My face is smiling wide this morning. Thanks Miss C!

    • Most of Lady A’s roundness is from her white band I think. It is a kind of optical illusion but not optical – well you know what I mean!! I think if she were a white cow with a black band she would look thinner? what do you think? c

  11. Shivers… looks at my fireplace – thank goodness I have that. Those pics look cold my friend. Stay warm! XOXO – Bacon

  12. A nice, cozy – and not too cold – day! Everyone healthy and happy – and a lovely sunshiny day!! ; o ) (Going to read about that mink!!)

  13. Yes, we’re having a heat wave! One of our esteemed weathermen last night sounded like he forecast 90˚ for today’s high instead of 21˚. I don’t care how you try to explain it, 21˚ is still cold. Period. Maybe we should get them to come to the farmy to cart some water when it’s a warm 21˚. If nothing else, I wouldn’t have to see them on the news that night — although you’d have to put up with them for a day. I’ll keep working on it. 🙂

  14. I’ve always wondered how the word “chook” is properly pronounced. A quick check of the internet reveals several different ways: some say “chooook,” others “chuck,” some make it rhyme with “took.” Different regions, different pronunciations. Celi, like you have nothing better to do, how about recording a little audio of how you say the word . . . you know, record a little sentence like you are talking to someone, Boo perhaps, about something the chickens did today!

      • Yes, we say it like ‘took ‘or ‘look.’ Although we colonialists …..NZ as well as Oz…..took it as our own, it’s origin is old English and it’s derived from ‘chuck’ or ‘cluck’…..people imitating the chook sound, and then morphed into ‘chook’.

  15. I very much remember the first time our chooks hit snow. I opened the coop to let them out and they flew at me Alfred Hitchcock style. Not at all interested in stepping in the fresh snow. Hopping from branch to anything without snow, they worked out their new day.

  16. Nice shots of the chooks! They look very robust and healthy. Are you getting many eggs? My mother-in-law has about 20 hens and she’s getting an average of six eggs a day. That’s about right for us during the cold months.

  17. Warmer -7?!! brrrrrr Poor chooks! hehe. The farm looks lovely (not warm though…hehe) I’ll touch wood so BooBoo keeps behaving around his little feathered friends.
    Take care and have a lovely day Cecilia.

  18. My little chicken coop is at the bottom of a slight hill, with a paved sidewalk running all the way down (the previous owners of our house had a wood boiler there, but we have geothermal heat now). So the path gets icy from time to time. One evening, I brought treats out to the chickens, and one of them started running down the icy path — and then gravity took over, so she slid the entire way, wings flapping. I imagined she was thinking, ‘I’m doing it! I’m flying!’ — and she did seem a little pleased with herself when she got to the bottom. At any rate, they’re VERY pleased that it’s above 20˚F today!

  19. I’m not enjoying my new early bedtime, because it means I miss the launch of the latest news from the Farmy until the next day…. 😦
    I remember my chooks getting ‘snow boots’ and walking along gingerly, shaking one foot after the other to try and get rid of it. Very funny to watch, but not so much fun for them, I suspect. I ended up dumping straw on the snow for them to stand on with their cold feet. My favourite shot today is Tima and Tane with their heads buried in their buckets, getting into the very furthest corners.

  20. We also call them chooks in Ireland – I sometimes forget who I’m talking to and use the word, and it is either confusion or instant love for a wonderful new word!

    Also, do you do this? My husband uses chicken as a term of endearment! Sort of how the English use ‘pet’. It’ll be grand, chicken! I also worked with a woman I never met but talked to a lot over the phone, and she called me chicken the same way. What a difference from what Americans use it to mean! Although I suppose not wanting to walk in the snow is a bit…chicken.

    • I used to call my now grow-up nieces chicken or chicky. It seemed to fit until they were about 10, and then after that they were too old for it! In Oz, a chicken is a baby chook, a chick, so I suppose that makes some sense.

  21. Like irmi, i love the photo of Boo and the chook. Anna’s icy path reminds me of a heart-rending story about pheasants in the book of short short stories (Flash Fiction. Norton publishers, Editor James Thomas) called “What Happened During the Ice Storm” by Jim Heynen. It’s such a touching story of what farm boys did.

    • Troublesome difficult. She is pottering along – but has never really thrived – she walks slowly and is often observed watching the others eat as though she is not sure what she is meant to be doing. Somewhere along the line she lost oxygen to her brain, I think. But she eats and drinks and is slowly growing -slowly.. c

  22. Pingback: After The Snow – Pictures – thekitchensgarden

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: