Heavy snow overnight and a bitingly cold wind. Every tap is frozen solid as is every drinker. I got my gas powered blow torch out but still failed to thaw out the tap.
Taking hours to get around the birds in weather like this. Within minutes of filling a drinker from a watering can, it freezes again. Eggs have frozen in the sheds and I’m now collecting hourly.
The birds are all on a cold weather feed. Flaked maize soaked in hot water with wheat, rolled barley and a small amount of fish meal. All I can do in a situation like this is keep the birds alive. Minus 14 with the wind chill last night and I noticed at least 2 Australorp males with burnt combs. The sheep are OK and have plenty to eat, as I give them 2 feeds ,morning and afternoon of course mix and add lib hay plus fodder beet. Put the Cob in the stable and out of the cold wind and managed to get into town to stock up yesterday.. Impossible today, as all the roads are covered in snow drifts too big to get a vehicle through.
Since writing that earlier the conditions have now got a lot worse. Blizzard and snowfall have not eased up all day. Managed to get the ewe flock in the shed out of the worse weather I have had here. These ewes are due to lamb in 3 weeks. I hope it clears long before then.
This morning I had to dig myself out of the house. Drifts up to 4 ft deep across the farm. The poultry yard looks like snowmageddon and every coop and run is buried in deep snow. Managed to give them all a feed and have feed the sheep. Even the sheep shed was full of drifted snow and it’s still snowing hard now. No traffic has passed our farm, as drifts hedge deep are blocking the road. I need to try to get across to my neighbours farm somehow, as he hasn’t gone passed this morning to feed his flock and herd of cows. He lives 5 miles away, as the farmhouse is under renovation.
Saturday morning 3-3 -18 and more heavy snow overnight. Conditions are now seriously challenging. Had to dig a gate out to get to the sheep to feed them and the drifts in the poultry yard are to the top of some of the Heras fence panels. All the birds are trapped in their field arks and coops and digging them out is going to take all day. The wind has dropped thankfully but it’s still snowing Herefordshire has been hit as hard as anywhere in the UK and at 1000ft you can imagine how bad it is. Slightly worried about food stocks for the livestock. I have hay, big bales, but there is no way I can get my tractor to it to take any out. I have enough chicken feed for 3 more days and unlikely to be able to get from here as all roads are blocked for the 5 miles into town.
Managed to get into town yesterday afternoon with the help of a farmer friend who bulldozed the snow off the road. Lots of people have a down on farmers and tractors on the roads, but without them you would have no food in the shops, unless you buy in foreign and doing that is ruining the UK’s farmers and producers. It’s been a very bad week here, I cannot start penning the breeders as the runs are 3 feet deep in snow drifts and as it melts mud is going to be a problem. Collecting clean eggs for hatching is almost impossible.
At least I have restocked the feed store, just need to go and collect my wheat but that is now a 9 mile round trip (usually 2 mile there and back ) because drifts are totally covering the road.
Lovely sunny morning after a frost last night. The roads are now passable, except for the one I use the most. Sheep flock looking well and holding their weight prior to lambing.
Starting to dispatch spare males and dress for the freezer. I have got about 40 to do so I do a few at a time. Lost just 1 bird possibly due to dehydration, snow is no substitute for clean water. Feed consumption will go down and they will, if not hydrated, lose condition.