I got home from work to discover a coop disaster: broken water pipe flooding the coop. I HEARD the gushing water as I got out of the car. Luckily John had installed the shut-off valve to the coop, way back at the side yard faucet, which I immediately utilized. Then I opened the people door to the coop to see the extent of the flooding.
It was bad. The coop was a shallow pool. The water was over my ankles in the middle of the coop. The Chicken Kindergarten had less standing water in it as the bottom frame had served as a dam. The pine shavings in the Kindergarten were just horribly soggy. 8 chicks were dead, two more were close enough to death for me to not have that much hope for them, but I picked them up and put them directly onto my sweater over my chest and closed my jacket over them. These weren't drowning deaths but victims of cold water chilling them far too long. The surviving chicks all got put into the Rubbermaid brooder again, this time with the EcoGlow50 unit. I had a bale of shavings not inside the coop, so there was dry bedding for the chicks. Then I dragged that 54 gallon Rubbermaid tub into the house and plugged in the EcoGlow.
As I was outside on the porch smoking a cigarette and urging the two chicks inside my jacket to live, John showed up - as scheduled - with the latest invoice. He noticed the geese outside of the coop and asked them why they were outside; I spoke from the porch to tell him the tale. "Oh NO!" He had arrived in his non-work car and was in street clothes, but he asked, "Do you need it repaired tonight?"
No, I didn't. The water was off, the surviving chicks are inside, there's no need for immediate repairs. He said he'd fix it tomorrow. He entered the coop and found where the PVC pipe had burst in two places. The geese and ducks splashed across the small lake in the coop. John said, "You must have JUST turned it off, because the soil around here drains very quickly." I acknowledged having discovered it less than 15 minutes before his arrival. "I really didn't think those pipes would freeze inside the coop, with all the heat from the chickens. I'm really sorry, Linda."
I reckoned that If I had originally put all the chicks into the ginormous metal trough brooder, they wouldn't have been subjected to the cold water and I wouldn't have lost any. John looked at me, and then at the pipes again. "Well, the water COULD have shot in that direction and FILLED the thing, drowning them all if they were in it. You can't play What Ifs."
True. That's not productive. We went into the house for me to write out a check for the invoice. He leaned over the brooder to look at the active survivors, which were peeping and drinking and eating, scratching in the dry pine shavings. "How many did you lose?" Eight for certain, possibly two more won't make it. "Were they expensive chickens?" No, not really. It's just sad. Stuff happens. Maybe all of the victims were cockerels, could we hope for that?
It was 22 degrees this morning at 6 a.m. when I left for work. The pipes were not broken then... John is going to insulate the exposed pipes inside the coop when he repairs it all. I told him I could use the long outside hose to fill waterers for a few days and he could take care of it when he had time in his schedule. "I don't have anything to do tomorrow." I thanked him.
He was sitting on the daybed with Zorro and Dooley up there with him, begging for his attention. "Oh, NOW you're my friends, huh?" Dooley reiterated his demand for attention by nosing John's elbow up so he could snuggle next to him. John patted them, looking around the room. We agreed the French door was lovely. Then he asked, "Do you need a housekeeper?"
Of course I do. (Major understatement of the millennium.) He had a recommendation, wrote down her name and number and suggested I call her this evening, as he had already gotten her permission to give her number to a prospective customer. He's known her for 15 years and she provides cleaning services for his business when he has to make repairs on rental units; she cleans the places for the customer so the properties can be shown in move-in condition. He said there are a couple of things he absolutely hates to do: house cleaning and body & fender work. Or give blood or do other "doctor stuff." This gal will break down boxes, throw away what needs to be discarded, do laundry, windows, floors, bathrooms, whatever needs to be done. She can help me clear out the living room mass of boxes so the heater installation crew can put in the new propane heater. Her rates are reasonable, she's trustworthy and she does good work. Plus he knows I'll like her. He added, "And you need to get to know people up here."
So, after he left with his check, I called her and made an appointment for this Saturday afternoon to talk over my expectations and needs.. (Her rates ARE reasonable!)
Back to hovering over drying chicks.