I wasn’t scheduled to post today. I wrote a long post yesterday that I ended up cropping into two parts because it got too long when I went into detailed information on topography of the land where you’re hoping to put your pen and how it can affect things. This morning I woke up to a little rain and so I snapped the below pic to show you how our land holds on to water and why our pen really isn’t in the ideal spot.
But it continued to rain, and the water continued to rise and rise and rise. I went out to check on the animals and was shocked to discover that our yard had become a lake! That’s the goat pen you see in the distance. My poor girls!!
But first I HAD to check on the chickens because you see those circles in this pic? Well those are dog water bowls… you know the kind you get at tractor supply? They were almost completely under water and if they were under water what was up with the chickens!?!
The poor chickens were butt deep in water!! They weren’t smart enough to fly up to their roosts. Instead they were wandering around in their yard watching their water bowls float by. They were SOAKED and honestly there wasn’t a whole lot I could do for them. A had a quick idea, I grabbed a folding table nearby and snuck it in their pen, threw some old carpet on top (for grip) and tried to catch them and put them up there… they weren’t having any of it and kept jumping back down into the water. Argh!! So I did the only other thing I could do… I grabbed a bale of hay, and spread it in the pen to raise the floor level. It created a pretty solid surface and they all rushed up and hung up there until the water subsided. My poor Rooster (Sir Gallahad) had red, angry looking legs, by morning they were back to normal color, but I panicked when I first saw them.
Next up… goats! OMG! I rushed over to the window flap and checked on them. Inside they were still dry, but the water was rising near the entrance to their house, and their bedding was becoming marshy in places. Luckily, their bed area is slightly raised – though only 2 inches higher than the rest of the pen.
My hurricane evacuation plan was to move the goats over to the main barn but there was just NO WAY I could get them there without carrying them and since Roddy was at work, there was no way I could carry them alone while battling the current and muddy sinkholes on the way there. Being Nigerian Dwarves, there was no way they could walk over there without being chest deep in icy cold water. They would have to “bug in”, there was nothing else for it. So I rushed over to grab another bale of hay and built up their bedding even higher – at this point they’re about 2 feet from ground level and I jumped around up there to test the water, but everything remained dry. I brought the girls a bucket of warm molasses water and stayed with them to calm them a little.
It was a hectic day that I hope never to repeat, but again, seeing as we live on the Gulf Coast hurricanes are a very real and constant threat. This was NOTHING compared to the strength of a hurricane and this storm busted holes in all my contingency plans. I am grateful we got this test-run and we’re going to be changing some things to better protect our animals in future. We’ve drawn up plans for more secure housing for everyone. We’re also going to be working on a new emergency action plan. I will keep you posted and will share our plans soon.