The past week has been a constant battle against the weather! Coming back to the allotment after our holiday, it was rather a shock to the system to find such cold temperatures. A drop of over 20 degrees is rather severe! As always, Geoff, Nikki and Dylan had done a fantastic job of looking after the girls and they definitely seemed rather unimpressed to have me back feeding them!

Now that the site water is turned off, making sure the girls have enough (liquid) water is a big job. Over the last few days, where temperatures have rarely been above freezing, I have been going down twice a day. Once in the morning to remove the ice from the drinkers and fill them with warm water, and once in the evening to make sure all the girls are inside the nest box. The ice thickness has been unreal – Maude and Mavis’s drinker froze so hard that it created a huge ice bowl!

Typically, Flora has been attempting to sleep outside. Even on the coldest night, and with the others snuggled up inside, she prefers to perch outside on her own for some unknown reason. Honestly! Flora was not impressed when each evening she was removed from her favourite perch and deposited inside the Nest House. But hopefully it will lessen her chances of hyperthermia.

The littlest bantams are also a law unto themselves. Chickens should cuddle together at night to keep themselves warm. Not my bantams. Each has a favourite spot and sleeps there in glorious isolation from the others. Foxy prefers the top of the swing, Elsie the top spot on the perch and Gertie on the bottom of the perch. Did it occur to any of these idiotic birds to sleep inside their nest box in minus eight degrees? No. Of course not. Why would they prefer to cuddle together inside out of the wind and freezing air temperatures?

Needless to say, none of them were happy when I unceremoniously dumped them into the nest box, declaring them all to be defective chickens. I rather suspect that we won’t be getting any eggs for a while in retaliation. But at least the silkies at home are laying so thankfully we shouldn’t have to resort to buying any this winter!

But aside from the girls making ridiculous life choices, the allotment in the frost is absolutely stunning. It’s worth the freezing fingers to take photos of the incredible ice patterns made on the shed.

As of today, the weather is warming – up to the dizzy heights of three degrees! But we are braced for another cold snap which is due next week. All I need to work out before the next one is how to stop my wellies freezing…


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