Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sub Zero

. . . and I ain't talkin about my favorite sandwich shop!

Sub Zero

It is cold enough outside to warrant some swearing . . . but I'll keep this Family-Friendly!

The Harris Hawks are doing OK in their heated converted trailer mew. It is now taking two heaters to keep it above freezing in there, but seems to be doing the job. However, yesterday I had to stretch my mind to come up with a solution for the Red Tail.

I had actually not planned on having three hawks this season, but the opportunity to acquire Flint in the fall was acted upon, and that removed my second warm mew out of consideration for the eventual Red Tail I wanted to get. So, Rich helped me to build a temporary housing situation for her. She is being kept in her weathering yard with a "jump box". It is top fenced for protection, and those are tarps blocking the wind from the North and East. It is open facing the South, for the weak sun, and West so I can see her from the house. If the temperature stays above zero, this works. Red Tails are very hardy birds that can withstand very cold temperatures, but when the thermostat drops below zero, it is completely unfair and cruel to leave a bird in a structure that does not allow them to move themselves to a warmer, more protected position.
We have a very nice pole barn that we are continually utilizing more and converting for various purposes. Rich had prepared a space which I had planned to house two of my goats. Biscotti, my young doeling from this year, and Kol, a whether (castrated male) that I recently acquired to keep Biscotti company, were going to take up residence here when I brought a buck to visit and impregnate my two adult female goats, Oreo and Macaroon. I don't want Biscotti to get pregnant yet, so planned to separate her. Rich set up some extra fencing sections we had and built a hay bunk to keep them safe and comfortable. Fortunately, he had not yet spread any bedding on the ground. Plant bedding and raptors don't go well together, as the danger of Asper is increased. I raked up some junk in the sand, placed a piece of carpet, and put a previously made tire-perch Rich made for me. Add an infrared lamp, and CC now has a very comfortable place to spend the next week, sheltered from the wind chill, and if she positions herself just right, actually quite warm from the lamp. The red glow is not as good as having sunshine, but it beats being outside where it is currently, as I check the weather website, -17, wind-chill value. We are forecast for -15 tonight, air temp. That could translate into ridiculously low wind chill value.

On a side note, I have placed Flint into the mew with the increased lighting to stimulate the start of the molt. No major feathers yet, but yesterday I did notice some body contour feathers in his mew. It may have started. It is WAAAAAAAY too cold to fly a little Harris Hawk like him. He needs at least 30 degrees or better, so we might as well do something productive during these months, and start his molt. I can pick him back up in the late Spring or Summer and see if I can reshape this little beast into a useable hunting bird . . . for he is just a screaming maniac right now.

The holidays, and the cold, and my having to work extra shifts because of our being down one employee at work has all conspired to limit my days in the field. I'm chomping at the bit to get out there, but that isn't going to happen for the next several days. Hopefully soon. The hawk food freezer is just not getting filled like it should, and my birds need to get out and stretch their wings.

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