Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cold and Snowy

It's snowing here now, and we're supposed to get somewhere between 3-6" I think.  It could be more, could be less, and there have been so many different forecasts I've sort of given up trying to predict how much we'll get.  I do know though, that tomorrow is going to be very cold (wind chills near zero) for our area, so as soon as I got home from work this evening I got to work outside making sure everyone was ready for the cold and snow.

I started with the chickens.  I moved their water and feed inside the coop, and made sure their windows of the coop were covered so the wind wouldn't whip through.  I used thick, clear plastic, which will block the wind and let in light. 

Then I fed the sheep their grain and extra hay, and I re-bedded their shelter.  

They don't need anything fancy for a shelter, since our winters aren't normally too extreme.  They have a three-sided shelter which is plenty to keep them out of the weather.  Most times they'd rather be out in the weather than in the shelter anyways.  I used to use the deep bedding method, which was adding dry straw any time the bedding got wet or soiled. It would build up underneath, but was always dry on top.  After having to fork out lots of wet, decomposing straw, I've decided to put down stall mats and not let the pack get so thick anymore.  I haven't gotten stall mats yet, so I've just been cleaning out the straw when it gets dirty, so it's not very thick. 

Then the goats got extra hay (I give the ruminants extra hay in the cold because as it digests in their rumen, it provides heat to help them stay warm) and bedding in their little shelter.  Ida was nosy about the camera.

After they were all taken care of, I brought all of the rabbits inside the barn.  It'll be much easier for me to feed and water them, and it'll be more comfortable for them.  The barn isn't heated or anything, but it stays much warmer in there than it is outside.  They all went into temporary cages and will be there for a day or two until the weather returns to a more normal temperature. 

I let my buck, Rocky, run around for a while inside the barn. He's so funny, he was very much interested in one of my does (KS2, for my records), so I went ahead and bred her.  I'll bring her back inside the barn before she kindles, so the kits will be warm enough.  

My other doe (KS1) was bred on Christmas Day.  Hopefully she took and we'll have some kits in a few weeks.

I have a rooster that doesn't come into the coop, instead he roosts out in a tree in the sheep pasture.  He was out there again tonight, and since it was dark when I got finished with chores, I decided to try to catch him.  He was up SO high I had to shake the little tree to get him to fly down.  Then I turned my headlamp off, hoping it'd be easier to catch him with no light.  After a few minutes of chasing following him around the sheep pasture, he finally went into the shelter and I caught him.  He's going to spend the night in the barn, along with the rabbits and Tucker, my barn cat. 

So we're all ready for the snow.  Bring it on!  It'd be really great if there was so much snow work got cancelled.  Most likely there won't be, and I'll have to go in anyways.  A girl can dream though...

1 comment:

Becky said...

You always do such a nice job making sure your animals are ready for cold weather. They're lucky to have you looking out for them. I hope you all stayed warm last night! I can't wait to see pictures of the snow! :)

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