It’s so cold out. Colder than it has been in decades, they say. They’re cancelling schools, people can’t get their cars to start. And I’m over here trying to stay warm, keep my birds, rabbit, and dog happy and comfortable, keep them in water that doesn’t instantly turn into a block of ice and not succumb to frostbite or hypothermia in the process.
Fun times, let me tell you.
If ever I questioned my sanity for wanting any sort of animal and trying to homestead… now is that time. Forty-five below and having to go outside is not my idea of a good time.
So, this morning, day two (?) of the polar vortex was especially fun.
I went out, almost froze just getting water for the flock and putting food in the coop and checking everyone to make sure they’re okay. Our Welsummer rooster, Kellogg, is in the garage in a kennel because a certain bird attacked him, bloodied up his comb and will not stop. So, he’s in quarantine to begin with until he heals up. The attacker cannot be dealt with until things warm….
Anyway, I come in to grab Kellogg a fresh bowl of water to put in the kennel. I had just thawed the ice… errr I mean water for the flock. Not a stitch of water available for nary a duck to swim in. We put a lid with a hole in it on the water when it’s this cold so they can’t swim.
You see, waterfowl (both ducks and geese) will try to swim even when it’s 40 below zero outside. And since water freezes so quickly, as soon as they get out (assuming they get out before the water freezes in their “hot tub), they lay down and freeze to the ground.
I come back in from checking on Kellogg and doctoring his wounds and I look outside….
There’s a duck, laying on the ground next to the water bowl. Surely, it’s not stuck? It cannot be stuck, there’s no water for it to get stuck to.
I continue watching….
The duck is stuck, it hasn’t moved, but appears to be struggling to get up off of the ground. I grab my coat and wander outside to get a closer look.
Sure enough, on the ground is my runner drake “Weirdo” desperately trying to get up off of the ground. His feet are getting under him, but he has his entire body frozen, solid, to the ground beneath him. No clue where he found any amount of standing water to freeze himself to the ground with, but he did.
How am I going to get this duck unfroze from the ground?????
I call my husband, who laughs that the duck is frozen to the ground. It’s not funny, dear, this is serious. He’s gonna die if I can’t figure out how to get him unfroze. I ask anyone I know online if they have an answer. I even googled it.
Note: Do not google how to unfreeze a duck stuck to the ground. It will give you several options on how to cook a frozen duck. Not so helpful.
I decide I need to get some hot water and try to get him loose with that. I grab a pitcher full of hot water and drag it outside. I frantically pour and try to pull to no avail. He’s stuck, and now he’ll be stuck even further because water is instantly freezing around the duck.
I can’t let the duck die. I couldn’t live with myself. I come back in, grab more water and go back out into the 30 mile per hour winds to try again.
I gently pour with one hand, while pulling from underneath him with the other, ever so gently so as to not pull off all of his feathers.
It works. The drake is free from the ice. My gloved hand is drenched because my husband thought it appropriate to give away my good gloves and now I can’t find any that will fit, but I digress….
We make it inside, I stick him in the shower to thaw providing a good hour of entertainment for my dog to enjoy watching.
Transferred him to the garage with Kellogg, which Kellogg was none to amused. And finally, safely, back out into the coop with his other duck friends.
Friends don’t let friends swim in freezing temperatures y’all. I don’t think Weirdo has any friends.
Stay warm…. Stay dry…. And I hope you don’t have any waterfowl frozen to the ground.