To say I am frustrated is a huge understatement. I think that the chickens are also frustrated too. I am having a dilemma with my waterers. No matter the height of the waterers, the chickens keep scratching copious amounts of dirt into the water. If I didn’t know any better, I would think that they are having monster truck shows in the run. As the chickens drive these mini chicken sized monstrosities over the dust bath craters dirt shoots in the air everywhere.
When I have been going out around 11am each day, I find a slurry of muddy sludge in the drinking part of the waterers. It seems as soon as I refresh them, they are again filled with mud scratched up from the run. The run itself is not wet or muddy. In fact, it has stayed relatively dry because I have had it covered during the rain and snow. When I clean the coop, I have been tossing the old shavings and straw into the run area as well. It is composted rather quickly by the chickens and seems to be a source of busy work for them. They love to scratch at the shavings and find goodies that were missed in the bedding when it was in the housing.
Today and tomorrow the weather is going to take a dive from the 20s to single digits. I hope that the chickens are able to stay warm. So far, without any types of heat in the coop, the chickens remain unfazed by the cold. I do have to remember that our breeds are listed as “cold hardy”. I also have to remember that I am a mammal and they are not. They are birds. They probably feel things differently. However with this weather, the waterers will likely need to be thawed a few times during the day. I guess thawing the waterers repeatedly is one way to clear the dirt for now. I am definitely going to have to figure out a solution come Spring. At least when the snow disappears they will be able to free-range more often, taking their monster truck show on the road.