It is mid-day and very cold; 19 degrees with a biting wind. This means that though I filled all the water bowls this morning at dawn, by now the animals which do not have heated water bowls would have frozen water. It is important that they have access to water that is actually wet throughout the day. So, I filled a 5 gallon jug up with warm water and trundled outside. The duck water bowl had 1/4 inch of ice on it, so I dumped it out, and refilled it to the brim. The ducks understand the routine, and cheered me on from a safe distance, then rushed to drink and splash the moment I stepped away.
The big chicken coop has an electrically heated bowl, but the scamps often unplug it, so I topped it off and checked the plug while I was out. The little coop, for the Silky chickens, does not have electricity, so I popped the ice out of their bowl and refilled it for them. I noticed they had eaten an awful lot of food this morning, and then saw this...
Mostly the chickens stay in their coop when there is snow on the ground, especially when it is very cold. But one other hen had flown the coop, and was exploring the pasture looking for snacks. She had also laid an egg in the goat room.
I carried the egg to the deck and left it there, next to the water jug, while I tossed some hay out to the horse and goats. I have learned it is best not to keep eggs in my pocket, as I often end up with a dreaded "pocket omelet." Ick.
The goats and horse were glad to see me, and the hay. Mostly the hay. Goats and horses depend on the energy they produce when they digest their food to help them stay warm in cold weather, so they need to eat frequently. Luna smiled when she saw I had brought the good stuff... second cut hay, sweet and leafy. Much better than some of the stemmy stuff we have stashed.
When I came back, there was no sign of the egg. The deck is not exactly level, so I checked to see if it had rolled off. No egg. I double checked my pockets. No egg, no omelet. I puzzled a bit, then decided I was too cold to care and proceeded towards the house.
Next to the door I found this.