But first, an update on the chickens. There's Georgina on the left, Esther on the right, and the two chicks in the middle. They are always together. Even at night, they crowd into one nest. Mind you, the nests are designed for one chicken at a time, or a chicken and her babies. They basically stack in there, babies on the bottom, mamas on top. I guess they're all warm! The two of them are very protective mothers. The cats give them a wide berth, and the dogs do that I'm not looking at you thing, very carefully looking away if the chickens come by.
Ok, on to the questions. Does anybody know the relative R value of baled hay versus loose hay? Really, it's more straw than hay, nothing nutritious in there, just stems. This is different hay, not my hayfield hay. Ok, back to my question. I have an old fashioned cellar door to the outside. You know, the kind that lay flat, covering steps down to an upright door at the bottom, which leads into the cellar. Those steps are only about a foot away from my pipe from the well into the house. I have had problems with that pipe freezing. In other words, no water in the dead of winter. I want to fill the whole step area with this straw/hay, in the hopes of insulating it so my water doesn't freeze. But is it better to leave it in bales, or open the bales and fluff it up? I am thinking of keeping it in bales where I can, and then filling in the rest with flakes or loose straw/hay. Anybody have an opinion?
Next question. Mom has been putting stuff in her mouth. Anything from stones, paper, marker caps, pen caps, just anything. She has done that off and on, but recently it seems that it is a constant thing. I swear I am feeding her, so I don't think it is done out of hunger. Of course I am paranoid after the whole coin ordeal, but I need to find something edible that she can keep in her mouth, without fearing her choking on it. Partially cooked green beans? Carrot? But what is the right size, big enough that she doesn't just swallow it right away, but small enough that she won't choke on it? Any ideas? Gum might be an option, albeit a sticky, messy one.