Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chick Choices

Our feed store gets its chicks from Frey's Hatchery in St. Jacob's.  Which is kind of funny, because it's the same place we used to get our chicks from when we lived down south.  Last year I started with an order of 50 Hatch Day Choice chicks, and later ordered 30 White Rocks, since the hatch day choice were awfully small when I attempted to butcher them.

I don't like White Rocks.  Frey's has a whole page explaining why they get harder to raise each year, and the issues with their organs not developing at the same speed as their bodies.  Yes, economically they may make sense to a lot of people.  From egg to freezer in 8 weeks.  But I have issues with time restraints.  Under no circumstances do I want to HAVE to butcher all of them on the same day.  I much prefer to do a few here and a few there.  Easier on my back, and allows me to work on different projects according to the weather.  I'm also not a fan of white meat.  Nor my husband, nor my boys.  We all fight over the legs and thighs, and then use up the breast and ribs over the next few days.  The white rocks were 'manufactured' to grow big fast, as well as to grow bigger breasts- the preferred choice amongst the majority of the population.  I want a chicken with big healthy legs.

An interesting side note- those puny little hatch day choice birds, I'm quite certain were black sex links.  The hens are all black, and the roosters all looked like barred rocks- thus my initial confusion.  They're supposed to finish at 5.5 lbs at the end of lay, and 7 lbs for the roosters.  The roosters did turn out a nice size, though I didn't weigh them, and the hens are looking really good now.
Red hen on the water trough, black hen behind.
I've picked up my price list from the feed store.  Deliveries start April 13th. I need to choose. 

At maturity/after lay, Frey's gives live weights as follows:  (and prices)
Red Sex-Link                       4.5 lbs                                             1.25 (Non sexed)     1.06 (Cockerels)
Black Sex-Link                     5.5lbs     7lbs cockerels                 1.25                          1.06
Barred Plymouth Rock          5-6lbs     6-7.5 lbs                          1.58                          1.20
Columbian Rock X Red          6 lbs        7.5 lbs                             1.34                          1.06
Red X Columbian Rock          6 lbs        7 lbs                                1.34                          1.06
New Hamp X Barred Rock   6 lbs        7.5 lbs                             1.34                          1.06
Rhode Island Reds                'comparable'                                  1.58                          1.20
Hatch Day Choice                                                                         1.03                           .86
Frey's Special                      6 lbs        8 lbs (15 weeks)             1.33                          1.25

I've eaten a lot of Rhode Island Reds over the years.  They were our preferred breed.  If you buy the same type of chickens year after year, it can get difficult to tell who is in their prime.  I don't want to be putting my best egg layers in the freezer.    So if I buy 100 non sexed of a different breed each year, I'd have the roosters to put in the freezer in the fall, and then I could alternate the hens by colour.  This year the Black Sex-Links would be in their prime, so all of the other hens could go in the freezer with the roosters.  Next fall I'd be able to identify all those black hens as freezer meat, while this year's hens, say barred rocks, were in their prime, and bringing in a new batch of, say Rhode Island Reds.  Thus keeping my hens young & fresh, and in peak production, while filling my freezer annually.  Sounds good in theory.

On the downside, I'd be putting a lot more feed into those hens, raising them longer.  Last year's batch was about 4 to 1 hens to roosters.  Not great odds for freezer meat for immediate use.  And the majority of the birds going in the freezer would only be in the 5-6 lb range.  I really like my 8 lb and up birds.  Which leads me to think that maybe I should order 50 'hens' non-sexed, and 50 specials, just cockerels.  The prices I listed there are by the 100.  Ordering 50 raises the price per bird.  For example, 50 specials would be 1.37 each ($68.50)(400lbs @ .17/lb), and 50 non-sexed barred rocks would be 1.70 each ($85)(6lbs/bird 300lbs @ .28/lb), for a total of $153.50.   Which is actually cheaper than $158 for 100 non-sexed barred rocks, but also lowers the odds of replacing my flock of hens annually, if by chance the odds flip 4 to 1 cockerels to hens.  Buying hens raises the price again.  50 Barred Rock hens would be $116 (@ 2.32 each) plus the specials is $184.50.  And I really don't need that many hens.  30 is nice, but lowering the numbers again raises the prices again, and lowers the accuracy of sexing.  Such is the dilemma.

And then there are the foxes.  Our first year here with chickens we ended up with very few birds in the freezer, even fewer hens, and lots of well fed foxes.  They were so well fed and brazen, that once we started putting the chickens in earlier in the day, they came to pick up their dinner earlier in the day- in broad day light, through the pasture, past the dogs!  While our security has gotten better, the threat is still out there.  The plan would be out the window if we had another year like that.

 So, amongst all of this, why not throw some turkeys into the mix?  The foxes took all but 2 turkeys the first year.  The second year they spilled their water dish on themselves and froze their little feathers off.  Last year we skipped the turkeys.  I was planning to skip the turkeys again this year, and until I get a proper shelter and security site designed for them.  But this year, Frey's has introduced Orlopp Bronze turkeys into their flocks.  I'm happy to see it.  I want to support the option of non white market turkeys.  To do that I have to buy some.  They're almost double the price of the whites, at $6.61 each for day olds.  If I buy turkeys, and all goes well, I don't need as many chickens.  I don't need as big of chickens.  25 turkeys would be $165.25(@25lbs/bird 625lbs @ .26/lb).  I could skip the specials, buy 50 non-sexed, and end up with almost 3 times as much meat in the freezer, with leftovers pretty much guaranteed at every meal.  I love leftovers.  If all goes well.  If not, I could end up with very expensive foxes.  And it puts me in a time crunch to get that turkey pen built. 

Of course, none of these prices takes the cost of feed into consideration, or materials for the turkey pen, or losses that are likely to occur.  It assumes maximum weight per bird.  It's all a gamble.  The end results could vary drastically.

What to do, what to do...  Sleep on it.  Hubby says just do it.  lol.  He's helpful.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dorie's Day Out

Dorie was tired of being cooped up in the chicken coop.  She wanted to get out in the sunshine and socialize.  Casper wasn't so sure he liked that idea.

Dorie showed off her young 'un to all the cows and goats and horses.  She had a bit of a tussel with Tori, when Tori got a little too interested in Casper.  But Dorie let her know that she was his mother, and whose going to argue with those horns?

Nelly wasn't sure what she thought of Casper.  She's not the baby any more.  It was oddly satisfying to see her hanging out with the cows all day.  Almost like she just realized she's not a goat after all.

Dorie settled into munching and gossiping with Mindy while Casper had a nap in the barn.  Everything seemed fine, so we left them to it.

A couple of hours later I went out to check on them.  Dorie is so rude.  I walked all over the place, and she just kept looking at me like, "What baby?'

Mindy refused to divulge any secrets either.  The dogs sniffed out tracks and followed trails.  Dorie looked at them as if to say 'Dumb dogs'.  I was starting to get worried.  Where was Casper?  Not in the barn, not in the coop, not in the hay pile.  Not laying down beside his mother!

A loose chicken distracted the dogs.  I went to fetch it.  Walking back towards the coop I saw Dorie slowly making her way down the fence line towards her hiding spot from the year before.  Gotcha.

Getting them back into the coop last night was a bit of a pain.  Dorie followed her treat bucket, no problem.  But Casper was staying put.  Probably because his mother told him to.  He had to be pushed, pulled and prodded along to keep up with his mother.  But we made it.
'What hiding spot?'

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

 The good.  I was so happy yesterday morning.  Dorie calved.  Everything went according to plan, as nature intended.  Casper is a lively little bull calf.
He's driving his mother crazy (just a little bit).  She wants out.  I told her she has to wait til tomorrow, when it's supposed to be above freezing!! to go show off her little one.

He said 'yeah mom, I'm tired'.  He's very cute.

Then the bad.  Nanner decided it was time for her to pop those kids out too.  Except, it wasn't kids.  It was one very large kid.  His head was huge.  And got stuck.  It took about an hour to finally get the head through, and the kid was obviously dead by then.  Then the shoulder was stuck.  I couldn't reach in far enough to ease it loose.  She pushed.  We pulled.  Two hours.  It finally came out.  We were all exhausted and shaken.

Nanner is heartbroken.  I feel so bad for her.  She's about 12 years old, and she's never had a kid.  As far as we know, this was her second delivery.  She lost both of her kids the first time too.  She went right to work cleaning up that baby.  Poor Nan.  She didn't seem to understand why it wouldn't get up.  It was so sad.

The ugly.  We're going to send her away.  We debated it last year when #1 decided he wanted to raise goats.  On the one hand, she's pretty old.  Blending in with a new herd could be hard on her.  She still hangs out with the horses and cows- or rather, bosses them around, more than with the younger goats.  On the other hand, if Oscar knocks her up again, it could really end badly for her.  So I advertised her this morning.  I'm hoping someone might like her for a pet, or at least that someone with miniature goats might understand and take pity on her.

Now to clean up the sun room.  First thing on the job list for spring- build a goat shed!  Or a milking stand.  Or maybe one of each.  Or maybe a new chicken coop.   Hmmm...  That might be the easiest, and then I could move the chickens over to the garden area.  I'll have to think on that.  Or maybe stalls in the barn.  That would make sense.  Something needs to change, that's for sure.  This goat in the sun room thing is getting out of hand!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's a Boy! (We Think)

#1 Moved Dorie into the chicken coop last night.  She was very swollen and had her tail dangling off to the side oddly.  I meant to check on her last night before I went to sleep, but passed out in front of the tv.  This morning I woke with a feeling of dread.  What if...

I walked out to the coop.  Mindy was standing outside beside the coop.  Lonely?  Distressed?  I don't know.  Quiet.

I stood outside the door listening.  Nothing.  Normally when Dorie hears or smells us coming she bangs on the door.  Not today.  Dread.

I opened the door.  She was still standing.  Relief.  I talked to her for a minute.  She was facing me and I wanted to get a look at her other end.  Normally she would back up so we could bring her feed in or open the other door.  And then I saw it, between her legs.  Another leg.  I bent down and looked underneath her.  She has a calf!

She finally backed up, swinging her head from side to side.  Looking at us.  Looking at her calf.

He was still damp, but clean.  A little wobbly, but on his feet.  She did it!  She did it all on her own!  She is awesome.

I let her sniff my hand.  That was ok.  I took a step toward her, and she lowered her horns.  Ok Dorie.  He's all yours.  We'll come bug you later, lol.

#1 went out about an hour later.  He of course, can get close enough to peek underneath the little one.  (Since he did most of the milking last year, Dorie acts like he was her calf.)  He claims he saw testicles.

#2 went out another hour or so later.  He reports Dorie and the calf were lying down at first, and then the calf got up and bounced around like a kid.  He flipped himself over and exposed himself, revealing testicles and a penis.

I'm going out again soon.  Will I get to look?  I don't think she trusts me not to try something crazy- like stealing her calf or milking her.  We'll see.

We have a calf!  And a cow!  Both alive and well!  Very happy here!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Out and About with Mama

Since the weather's warming up again, Mama and Bullwinkle are parading about the yard, munching on hay, enjoying the sunshine.  Bullwinkle definitely suffered some frost bite on the ears, and as well as being stuck in this odd position all the time, the end of one seems to be dead.

Mama seems to be in good spirits.  Bullwinkle is playing shy.  I think he's afraid we'll steal him and take him back in the house.

Ok, maybe he'll say hello.

There we go.  A nice close up.  The yellow patch is the remains of the burn mark.  He's such a sweet little thing.  We're so happy to have him out and about and doing well.  Such a rough start for such a sweet little guy.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring in the North

Milder days.  Snow turning to slush.

More hay exposed.  Lots of snow to melt.

The beginnings of a puddle.  And muck.  Cows wandering. 
Out of round bales.  Feeding square bales.  Poop waiting to be cleaned up.

Gates getting harder for goats to jump.

Puppies happier to spend more time outside, without fear of freezing.

Yes, it's in the air.  Spring is on it's way.  Sap may be ready to run soon.  We've taken a dip in temps again, but it won't be long now.  The pine trees are waking up.  I wake up hacking and coughing daily now.  Of all the things to be allergic to when you live in a pine forest, pine trees are not recommended, lol.  Another month or so and we should see patches of grass peeking up in the low spots.  The goats will start browsing in the brush on the edge of the road.  And maybe, if we're lucky, we might see a calf and a couple of kids.  Before Nanner explodes!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Alpha Mare

The alpha mare's duty is to tend to the safety and well being of the entire herd.  She signals when to move, sleep, eat, drink, or run for safety.  She disciplines unruly youngster.  She is the leader, the boss, the matron.  She is usually an older, more experienced mare,  and she usually has to fight for her position.

Tori was only 4 when we bought her.  She came from a fairly large mixed breed herd to our house, all alone.  She was the alpha mare by default.  Mostly, she was nervous and skittish and lonely, and didn't sleep well.

Our second horse, Sailor, was an old pony gelding.  He imprinted on Tori like a werewolf on a vampire baby.  Instant.  No turning back.  Tori was the alpha mare, still by default, but less nervous and skittish.

We moved up north, to the land of ice and snow and bears.  Unfamiliar sights and sounds and smells.  Danger.  We lost Sailor.  Tori was alone.  She was the alpha mare by default.  Mostly, she was nervous and skittish and lonely, and didn't sleep well.

We bought Bella and Blondie (both 10ish).  Bella had been the alpha mare at her previous herd.  She walked in with attitude.  But this was Tori's pasture.  She was young, and long legged, and could outrun Bella's fury.  But she had to come back to eat.  Running away just seemed to make Bella angrier.  It took about three days for things to settle down to the point that I wasn't worried Bella was going to kill her.  Blondie was #2, as it had been in their previous herd.  As Blondie's pregnancy progressed she became more self preserving and less ambitious.  Tori fought her for position and came out as #2.

Within a week of our Ginger's birth, Blondie was back as #2.  Ginger seemed to be #3 by default.  Tori was on the bottom.

Rita (31) came to live with us.  She had been at the bottom of the pecking order in her previous herd.  Her calm and gentle spirit kept her there.  She followed the herd at a distance.  She wandered on the outer edge.  She just wanted to be left alone.

We bought Goliath(17).  He was a huge Belgium gelding.  He should have taken the role of a stallion, to protect the herd.  He fought Bella for alpha.  She conceded, after weeks of kicking and biting.

We bought Trigger (over 40, according to our farrier).   He had been a stallion.  He was gelded at about 20 years old.  Goliath hated him.  Chased him off repeatedly.  He settled in with Rita.  The beginnings of a sub herd.

By this time Ginger was in splints full time.  Although Bella still lavished attention on her, she couldn't keep up with the rest of them.  She and Blondie joined Rita and Trigger.

Money came to live with us.  She was an alpha mare by default at her previous home, and a royal bitch in general.  She bit and kicked anyone and everyone.  The size of the Belgiums was no deterrent to her violence.  She never accepted Goliath as leader, always fighting for position.  She never one.  We sold her after a year of waiting for things to settle down.  It never happened.

Trigger died.  We put Ginger down.

We bought Sugar(15), and Thunder(3ish), a pony stallion.  Things really changed.  We'd never had a stallion around before.  He was the smallest horse we'd ever owned.  And he was a stallion, through and through.  He would take this herd or die trying.  Goliath's size was no deterrent.  He claimed Sugar as his own right off the start.  Goliath tried to take her from him, and the tiny beast (12 hands) attacked Goliath (19 hands) with vengeance.  Rita accepted him without any fuss, and Sugar joined her herd. 

Blondie had been a go between since Ginger's passing.  She was friends with Rita, but no longer had to stay there to protect her foal.  Thunder claimed her next. 

For the first time in 4 years, Tori couldn't out run someone.  Thunder separated her from Goliath and Bella, and made her run all day long.  He chased her to the edges of the pasture and back again, right on her heels.  He was very fast for such a little thing.  Every time she stopped and tried to rejoin the herd, he chased her off again.  Finally at dusk he allowed her to join Rita.

Over the next few days Thunder alternated between fighting with Goliath and chasing and fighting Bella.  Goliath broke first.  Thunder backed him into a fence.  He hurt his leg.  He was beaten.  He joined Rita's herd.

As stubborn as she was, it only took Bella another day or so to realize she had to submit or live alone.  She submitted. 

Once they were all under Thunder's submission, the sub herd reemerged.  Bella was the alpha mare of her group.  Goliath tried to take it from her once, but Thunder wouldn't allow it.  Tori and Blondie joined her.  Sugar stayed with Rita.  Thunder ran the outskirts, always on guard.  Bella led the herd. 

Goliath died.  We sold Bella, Blondie and Thunder.

Rita was the alpha mare.  No fighting.  It was just accepted. 

When Rita died it could have been a toss up between Sugar and Tori.  I didn't see any real indications of who was on top.  And then Sugar broke her leg and we had to put her down.

Tori was alone.  Alpha mare by default.  Mostly, she was nervous and skittish and lonely, and didn't sleep well.

The new Ginger was the alpha mare in her previous herd.  There were four of them.  She is not domineering like Bella was.  She is not passive like Rita was.  She exudes an air of dignity, control, confidence, acceptance.  Tori seems mostly relieved to not be alone.  To not have to make decisions.  To not have to follow cows or goats- or worse- cows who think they are goats. I think she will accept the wisdom that comes with age, and defer to Ginger.  She may get more ambitious after a few nights of good sleep, but I don't think it was ever really in her personality to want that role.  Her ambitions seem to come more from the point of view of "I don't want to be bossed around" than "I want to be your leader".  Time will tell.

Cow Update

Dorie and Mindy are starting to wander.  I don't know where they think they're going, since we're still a long ways from fresh spring grass.

Dorie may be looking for a 'spot'.  I'm still hoping she'll keep that calf in for another month or so.  Her back side has been red and swollen for about a week now, and her udders appear to be bagging up.  It could be any time now.  She went to the neighbour's last June and spent the summer.  The neighbour has already had one calf born and lost this year.  With all of our bad luck so far, I'm really hoping we'll have an easy, no issue delivery here.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ginger's Arrival

I was so excited when she got here that I ran out the door without grabbing my camera!  I missed some serious photo ops as Tori danced, pranced and kicked up a storm to welcome Ginger to our pasture. 

Bullwinkle was absolutely adorable standing in the doorway of the barn watching all the commotion.  Tori scared me for a minute as she headed towards him once, but she skidded to a halt in front of him and bent to give him a sniff. 

Dorie and Mindy were standing back a ways, but not far enough for Tori.  She drove them back into the trees, as if to say 'this is my new friend and you stay away!'

Ginger walked around a bit, found the hay pile, and calmly started munching.  Oscar was in the corner by the gate munching on hay when Ginger got a little too close.  He lunged at her, horns aimed at her throat- his usual domineering behavior.  She jumped back a step, and then toward him with her mouth open.  He fell just in time to avoid the crunch of her teeth.  He jumped back and stared at her, I think as stunned as I was.  Although all of the horses had attempted to kick him at one time or another, not even Thunder, the stallion, had ever tried biting him.  Looks like there may be some new rules on the playground.

Within half an hour everyone had settled down, and I went to get my camera.  The cows came up to eat by the gate, Tori and Ginger were eating by the fence, and most of the goats had hopped the fence to help themselves to the hay pile.

Ginger was the alpha mare at her previous residence, and I think Tori accepted that right away.  They ate together quietly most of the day, then disappeared into the barn for an afternoon nap.  They were back out together this evening, side by side, as if they'd been friends for years.

The boys- Patches and Pudge- aren't used to being outside for such a long stretch, but we talked them into posing for a cute pic before we went back in the house,

I have them advertised now, with a fairly hefty price tag.  Truth is, I don't really want them to leave.  Despite their mutty breeding and weird markings, physically they are perfect little labs.  And I adore them.  9 weeks tomorrow.

Goat Update

This was one of Bullwinkle's last days in the house.  The orange/brown spot is actually a burn mark.  He was standing too close to the fire.  The weather has been warming up considerably.  It's above freezing most days now, with the lows overnight barely touching -20 C.  Bullwinkle spent a few days outside with Mama, but still sleeping in the house.

And then he really cooked himself.  We found him with this big stinky burnt patch on his side.  He didn't seem hurt by it, but he definitely wasn't learning to stay back from the fire.  It was a mild night, so we left him outside with Mama.  He hasn't been back in since.

Mama has had enough of being cooped up.  She wanted out to enjoy the weather.  Bullwinkle is right on her heels all around the yard.

The burn mark is already growing out, and he seems to be in good health now.

Nanner is eating non-stop these days.  I'm afraid if she gets much bigger she might explode.
Who needs ducks when you've got a waddle like that?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A New Companion

I answered an add for "an older mare, suitable for light riding or companion".  I received about a dozen pictures and some info.  I was hooked by the price alone.  Tori has been alone since we lost Sugar, and as a herd animal, living in the woods, with the weather starting to turn and the bears about to wake...  It's not good for her psyche.  She needs a companion.

But I got the pics and info.  And I was immediately conflicted.  Torn between "this was meant to be" and "this is too eerie to deal with".

This was Ginger.  She was Blondie's foal.  Born with contracted tendons, and despite our attempts to splint her legs, we couldn't get her feet quite right.  She's the only foal we've ever had.  Blondie was pregnant when we bought her and we didn't even know.  Ginger broke our hearts over and over again.  From the first ferrier visit when we'd be better off to let her go, to the vet who said we could try the splints and then changed her mind, to attempting the splints, to finally accepting that she would never be able to carry her own weight.

Blondie on the left.  Not a great pic, but the best I can find at this angle.  We sold her last fall, when we decided to downsize the herd (and the hay bill).  I've regretted selling her the most, after losing Rita and Sugar this winter.

Another shot of Blondie.

This is the older mare.  Her name is Ginger.
We went to see her yesterday.  She looks like a miniature version of Blondie.  She's only 14 hands 1.  The older three boys rode her, and they all seemed pleased with her response, although #1 was itching to kick it into high gear.  I know he wants to test out her abilities, but he has to be reminded she's older and hasn't been worked all winter, so he's going to have to be patient as she gets back into shape.  Not to mention the snow, ice, and unfamiliar territory.

The people she's with now bought her at auction last May.  She was their first horse.  They have 6 kids, and they've all been learning to ride on her.  Their daughter's been taking her to shows and is ready to advance into hunter/jumper classes.  Their only complaint is the cost of feeding her through the winter.  They've had her on an assortment of grains, most recently feeding her Hi Fat Hi Fiber.  That was going ok, until their recent purchase of a gelding who chased her off her feed and gobbled it up for himself.  He's been gaining a lot of unnecessary weight, and she's been getting thinner.  Complications.  I can relate.  Bella was always stealing everyone else's grains and treats.

So it was decided.  She'll be coming to live with us soon, possibly tomorrow.  They'll be delivering her as soon as they can.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sick Kid

Ever had one of these in your house?
How about one of these?

We've had an interesting week.  Our recent cold snap has wreaked havoc on the kids.  We lost Rocky a few days ago.  Curled up in a ball one morning, dead.  Bullwinkle seemed to be ok for the most part.  Cold, obviously, and not too energetic, but still eating well.

Until yesterday.

#1 brought him in the house first thing in the morning.  He couldn't stand up, was terribly weak, and wasn't eating.  I think he had frost bite in his front legs.  #1 milked Mama, and through the day we took turns squirting syringes of milk into his mouth.  It wasn't looking good.  Even once he had warmed up, and got the shine back in his eyes, he couldn't stand.  We brought Mama in in the afternoon to try to nurse him, but he just flopped at her side.  They called out to one another, and she stood over him protectively, but he wouldn't nurse.

#1 milked Mama again at dinner time- she is NOT a fan - and we continued using the syringe to get a bit of sustenance into Bullwinkle.  After a long nap in the evening, he woke up renewed at about 10:30.

#2 had given him 3/4 of a syringe when he clammered to his feet.  He fell back down, his front legs unstable beneath him.  And then he stood up.  He stood and took another two syringes of milk.  And he called his Mama.  I sent the boys out to get her, and by the time they got back he was wandering around the sunroom.  They had a happy reunion, and he nursed until his belly was sated.

I had to hold him back as the boys took Mama back outside.  He seemed to think he was fine now, and wanted to go with her.

He woke up screaming for Mama at about 3am.  He climbed the steps into the kitchen and marched around as if it had always been his territory.  I fed him two more syringes and #1 sat with him until he drifted back to sleep.

He was up again before 7, and marching around hollering for Mama through the kitchen.  He woke the dogs, who all came to my room to make sure I knew it was time to get up.  He really didn't like being left alone.  He hollered through the kitchen wondering where everyone had gone, and into my room.

Ok, I'm up.  I'd rather be woken up by a noisy kid in my bedroom than a crying kid (#1) in my sunroom.

#2 took him out to Mama to nurse, and brought him back in about 20 minutes later.  He was really cranky about being brought back in.  Although he seemed fine at that time, I didn't want him to get too chilled and take a turn for the worse again.  His second bout outside seemed to wear on him more, even though he came back in hollering for Mama again.  He's sleeping peacefully now, in front of the sunroom fire.

He curled up there on his own.  I hope he's comfy.

We're not out of the woods yet, but things are definitely looking up.  He'll be sleeping in the house again tonight.  Tomorrow the temperature is supposed to start rising, so hopefully he'll be ready to join Mama outside again soon.