Every spring, we start preparing for chicks. This usually means a rearrangement of how animals are housed.
In the fall we usually move everything into one building or at least to a central area. This makes chores a bit easier, as we aren’t slogging through knee high snow, or fighting the north wind to feed animals.
While most animals prefer to be outdoors, they do usually need an area to shelter in during inclement weather. Unless they are geese, who seem to love the wind and the rain.
Trying to figure out housing with various species can be a challenge. Geese and chickens don’t always do well together. The geese tend to be bullies and have been known to pick on the chickens.
Also, if there is a goose nesting and a chicken gets too close, it is in danger of being attacked, brutally, by not only the goose but also the gander.
While waiting for our sow, Kali, to give birth last fall, we didn’t want the geese in the barn with her. She would be very protective of her babies and might hurt the geese.
Or they may decide the babies were a threat and start to attack them. So the geese were sent out to a smaller building that we use for our turkeys in the summer.
Chickens don’t much like the snow, but they still need an area to range during winter. This year they shared the entire barn with Kali and her piglets. This worked very well.
Now that spring is here, we have to fit the chickens back into their original pen. This won’t be as difficult as it may seem. As the snow melts, they to go back to their outside pen.
When most of their yard is exposed, the barn will be deserted as they venture out to see what new sprouts or bugs they can find. This is when all we need to do is close the door between their area and the rest of the barn.
Kali’s piglets have grown to a size where they don’t fit through the smaller chicken doors, anymore. They were also creating a lot of humidity in the barn and this isn’t healthy for any of the animals.
Recently, it was moving day. We wanted to move them into a bigger pen. But it required chopping away at the ice and snow to be able to open the gate. When I did all I could, I still couldn’t open the gate very wide. So, I let the pigs do the rest of the work.
Naturally curious, pigs tend to “nose” around. With the gate open only wide enough for one pig to fit through, they had to take turns exploring.
They pushed, shoved and nosed their way into their new pen – not only widening the opening but also clearing an area outside the gate.
Frozen ground didn’t seem to be much of an obstacle for them. And that night, on a new bed of straw, they slept for the first time under the stars.