I've read about guinea hens being great for ticks, that makes them attractive to me as we've got tons and they're really tough on our dogs. Although, with this insane cold, maybe they'll actually be killed back this year, unlike last year! I think I also read though that the guinea hens don't necessarily do well sharing living quarters with regular chickens? Will have to read up on that.
I decided to suck it up an hour ago- the temp had risen from -6 degrees F to 12 degrees- and take care of the ladies while I was still all bundled up from being at the barn (the farrier was there this morning). I'm really glad I did, because their water had frozen solid. I can't remember whether my husband or I dealt with the water refill earlier this week, but the heating pan had been put in upside down, so that the little heat bladder was facing down, not up for the gravity can to sit on it. I don't know how long its been since they had water, which obviously made me feel terrible. They drank and drank and drank when I filled it up
But, the positive thing is that they are obviously very resilient. I did have two eggs; one had frozen and cracked, so I threw that one away, but the other was in good shape, maybe fresher (I didn't check yesterday...)
They had eaten a lot of food, which I know is one sign that they're getting too cold. I don't think there's anything we can do about it though, so I just cleaned the poop out of it (there was a lot) and filled it back up. I gave them some more straw and more scratch so they'd move around a bit, adding some more fruit and vegetable scraps, and closed up the front door as tight as I could.
They did seem really eager to go outside as soon as I opened the door- I don't think they like being closed in. But, they were only out about 10 minutes; I left them out when I came back in the house to get more hot water for them, and by the time I got back outside, they were all back in the house.
Here are some glamour shots from their brief foray to the outdoors.