Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cold Snap

The past week was very cold for us. Really, it was the coldest weather we've had this season so far, by far.  Our lows were into the single digits at night, and we had several days straight of highs in around 20*F.  Last Sunday was 60* though, so the animals didn't really have much time to adjust to gradually decreasing temps.  So how do they make out?

The sheep aren't quite sure what I mean when I ask them if they're cold.  They don't notice it at all, it seems.  They have a shelter, bedded down with dry straw, but they would rather lay outside.  I'm not sure you can see it in the picture below, but the girls have snow on their backs.  This just shows what a good insulator wool is. If the sheep were losing body heat, the snow would melt. Since the snow isn't melting, it means they're still toasty warm under their wool coat.  The same goes for buffalo, reindeer, and lots of other mammals you see standing out in the snow, backs covered.

Bean looks pretty comfortable laying in the snow.

I've closed in the sides of the sheep shelter, so they've got good protection from the wind, rain, and snow.  It's not likely to win any contests for most beautiful sheep shelter, but it is much larger than it was last year and it is functional.

The goats aren't like the sheep.  They do grow a nice winter coat, but they just aren't as comfortable in the cold as the sheep.  On the first really cold day, I found them all shivering and looking pathetic. They either share the large shelter with the sheep, or they have the smaller shelter in the breeding pen, but it's still not quite enough to keep them warm.

So I broke down and brought all of the goats inside the barn.  I could tell they are pretty happy to be in there, and it's easier on me having them in there for the really cold temps.  

Nessarose and Stout are sharing one side...

And June and Ida are sharing the other pen.

The goats are not alone in the barn.  Tucker, our old man barn cat, has the premium spot under the heat lamp.

I brought the 2 rabbit does in the barn for the winter.

The buck stays outside though.  He's got a hutch that's sheltered from the wind.

Lucky for us, it seems the extreme cold won't stick around too long. Today was above freezing, and tomorrow it may even get into the upper 30's!

1 comment:

Becky said...

Brrrr! It was way too cold last week!
Your new sheep shelter looks great! It looks big and dry. I'm sure your gals appreciate it. I love that picture of Bean laying in the snow. I know the goats appreciated you bringing them into the barn in such cold weather. Tucker has the right idea. :)

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