I got to thinking about this the week before Christmas when temperatures here in Alabama hit a record low of eight degrees Fahrenheit one night. The next night was only twelve! We’ve been here for about fifteen years and the coldest it has ever been was fourteen degrees. How do you prepare for something that almost never happens?
This goes back to knowing your area. If you are planning a move, do lots of research and talk to people. Find out what natural disasters have occurred in the past and plan for them in the future. Most houses around here aren’t very well insulated and people rely on electric heat. We remember trying to keep warm when it was fourteen degrees and that time a tornado knocked out our power for four days. What if those two things had happened simultaneously?
So our home is the best insulated new build in this area and we have a propane heater, propane cookstove, and a wood stove. No matter what happens, we’ll be warm and we can cook meals.
This was our first time having animals out in this kind of mess and we went a little overboard for our pullets thinking they would be cold. They loved the cold when the sun was out. Today, it was 35 and cloudy and those chickens who loved a bright, sunny 35-degree day acted like they were going to freeze. We have extra bedding with a ceramic heat lamp outside the coop that they could go to any point during the day. We put them in there at night for protection and it stays about seventy degrees, which they seem to like. Most people don’t use a heat lamp, they just make sure there’s good airflow with minimal draft and their flocks fared just fine, too.
Our biggest problem was their water freezing. We took out hot water, poured it on the frozen water, and the chickens had warm water. With our rabbits, we brought their bottles inside near the stove and let them defrost a while, and then returned them. No one seemed to mind except the six-week-old kits, but we have an extra waterer for them since they go through more water than the others. There are three of them and their opposed to the rest who are housed individually.