I know the goats are really happy when they settle in to chew their cud in the middle of the field. Most of the time, they huddle together in their favorite spot along the fence. It's only on the nicest days that I find them piled up and happily chewing in the middle of the field. And that's how I found them Wednesday -- lazily chewing with their noses upturned and eyes closed, like they were just drinking in the warm 70-degree day. Oh, how I love seeing my goats happy!
That's why on days like today (Friday), I could just cry for them. As I trudged through the backyard, ice pelting my face, to break up the water in their bowls and bring them grain, they wouldn't even leave their houses to come see me. I had to walk the grain bowl into the shed for them. They gobbled up their goodies then began to moan. It was such a terrible sound. I'd only been out in the weather for about 15 minutes; I could only imagine what they must be feeling.
Last night, once the hens had all made it up into the chicken wagon and as the freezing rain came down, John and I worked quickly to affix some tarps to the sides of the wagon. It's not the most attractive way to solve the problem, but it was noticeably warmer inside once we had the sides covered.
The animals may be a uncomfortable, but short of bringing them all inside to huddle with us next to the heater, we've done about all that we can do. Let's hope that as temperatures plunge into the single digits tonight, it'll be enough.