Concerns about ice and snow on foldyard roofs

IT is now a major, and time consuming, occupation to keep our cattle provided with drinking water. Every trough and drinker is frozen solid each morning, and even when eventually thawed out, they freeze up again as soon as it is night time and the temperature drops still further.

Even the outflow from our bathroom is frozen and the sink will not empty. It is seriously cold.

We continue to be visited by foxes every night who are seeking out any weaknesses in the chicken and duck hut defences. The snow makes it very easy to see where their nocturnal excursions have taken them to. If the fencing had not been recently renewed around the chicken run, I think we would have suffered serious poultry predation.

As it is I feel like feeding the chickens to the fox anyway as they have completely stopped laying in this weather. I am fed up with them as they are eating a vast quantity of grain every day and producing nothing. The pigeons love it.

Go to the run and vast flocks rise up into the air. And what use is a pigeon?

Out in the fields John has given up trying to keep the drinking trough water supply defrosted.

He smashes through the ice on the top of the water and concentrates on providing plenty of hay and ewe nuts to keep the sheep well nourished. I expect the fallen hay around the racks are also providing a modicum of nourishment for passing hares and rabbits and maybe even some deer.

Foraging for food is a hard task in this weather.

A concern for the foldyards is the weight of snow and ice on the roofs.

John has been up to check that ours are sound and is pleased that he renewed the pantiles on a barn roof that might have been vulnerable given the present conditions. Unhappily the poultry shed at a friend’s farm has suffered a collapsed roof.

Fortunately it was not the shed which housed all their Christmas poultry, but it was the shed they did the plucking in. It’s going to be a cold job unless the weather changes.

Jo and her husband Matt returned from a fortnight’s holiday in Dubai to a frozen car park at Heathrow on Saturday.

When they left a fortnight ago the weather was relatively mild in England and they were certainly not adequately dressed for ice and snow.

Luckily the car started ( a few around them had not) and rather than head straight for their home, they headed straight for ours..

“We were looking forward to a roast dinner and getting the washing done” was the given excuse.

“A chance to cuddle Millie our little Jack Russell the real reason I think.

Unlike us, who at this stage are just seeing the snow and ice as a nuisance,

Millie is very taken with its play opportunities. You can throw snowball after snowball for her to retrieve and unfortunately, she does not tire.