It's been quite a week for the chickens.
It started off with a lovely thaw. The daytime temperatures -- all 40 degrees of them -- were positively beach-like compared to what we've seen since Thanksgiving and the birds took full advantage.
Unfortunately, the warm temperatures melted the snow and brought on the mud, which is always worst in the coop with its slower drainage and ground that is constantly being churned up by chicken feet.
Poor Mike here looks like she could use a pair of chicken boots.
And now she and Shirley (or is it LaVerne? I can't tell them apart) look like they were pretending to be Lucy and Ethel stomping grapes.
Except that it's mud, of course, not grapes.
The birds spent a lot of time standing on top of their play house, like a little chicken convention.
This pair doesn't know from mud. They and their three confederates continue to be indoor chickens.
That changed, for a grand total of 3.5 minutes, when I freshened up the shavings in their apartment, which, due to their complete failure to step outside and their indiscriminate bathroom habits, were in a disgraceful state.
When I toss clean shavings into the coop, the new birds panic like I'm lobbing grenades at them. Last time, they all backed into the same corner and hopped up and down and trampled each other until I went away. This time, they headed for the opposite corner, which lets onto the exit ramp. At this point, I may or may not have pushed the lot of them out the hatch--defenestrated them, as it were-- and followed it up by throwing more shavings at them.
Thus they experienced the glories of nature for a second time.
I don't think they cared for it all that much.
They flapped and ran for a bit and were completely stupefied to find themselves on the opposite side of the fence. They could see the mini-coop, but they couldn't figure out how to get back to it.
Eventually they found the cutout in the fence and, barely pausing to snatch up a few grains of the cracked corn I had put out to teach them to love the great outdoors, made their way back inside.
The next day it snowed. A lot.
So much that we got two snow days from school.
My birds don't do snow, but today's temperatures, which were back at a very vernal 42 degrees, were too much to resist. So they pushed a bunch of shavings out and stood on that. All of them in one little spot.
I guarantee that they will go no further until the ground is back to its muddy glory.