Surviving Our Wintery Week
This week was extremely wintery for our area. I heard that we had record low temperatures that we haven’t seen in 20 years. And we had a “significant snow event”. I always laugh when the news people get going with the hype about the weather. In the end, we really only had about 5 inches of the white stuff. I make no secret of my love for snow. I love a good snow storm and I realize that many of my family and friends do not share my love of snow. So to make you all feel better I will admit that I am not a fan of the extreme cold that we are experiencing! As far as I am concerned, anything lower than 15 degrees above zero is just too cold!
Now before everyone starts telling me what a wimp I am, hear me out. The water carrying to the barn job starts when the temp is in the low 20’s above. Anything colder than that and you are still carrying water to your chickens and barn animals. Unless you have unlimited electric power and can run lots of water heaters for all the bowls. We have to let the pigs and cows in the large fenced areas have the water de-icers. The rest of the critters have a water service (me) that comes in three times a day to break up ice and add non frozen water to the bowl and buckets. That’s a lot of water, 20 to 30 gallons of water per day is carried back to the barn and coop area. And I am ok with doing this. We have done it for a long time. It’s how we get through winter. But it is cold. If only I could have snow with mild temperatures!
The animals have mixed feelings about the snow. They all have shelter to go into and can stay out of bad weather. The momma pigs are all tucked into stalls with their babies. I can’t believe how fast the babies are growing.
And Charlie had a reunion meeting with the love of his life, Mariah. They chatted over the fence and then she moved on to root around and enjoy some baby free time while her litter napped. Charlie really misses her but we already have quite the population explosion with Layla, Mariah and Squishy all delivering within the last two weeks.
The pigs really seemed to enjoy the snow and rooting around. It was funny to see their noses come up all covered with snow. Then they would go back inside and burrow under the hay and take a nap! Sounds perfect!
Reba, our only red head, is a good big sister to all the younger weanlings. She takes good care of all of them but she gets her way!
The sheep are also big fans of snow. The first morning after the storm, I thought maybe they would prefer to munch on hay in the stall rather than go out and stand in the snow. They literally stalked me as I walked by their pen, feeding the goats and doing chores, until I put some hay outside.
A slight increase in the amount of grain helps everyone stay warm and peaceful.
The goats would not put one foot outside with snow or rain. They will happily remain inside until the ground is dry.
Up in the chicken, duck and rabbit area we have differing opinions too. The ducks, being the happy go lucky beings that they are, ran right out into the snow. They proceeded down the hill, at which point I directed them back up to their area. Chief helped me herd them back. Who knows where they were planning on going that morning. After they had a big splash in the room temperature water I brought with me, they settled down to preen in the sun. They probably would have taken a swim if I had filled the pool.
Rabbits don’t mind the snow. The bright white light however was a bit too much for their eyes to adjust too. Looks like Quincey needs some shades! Gizmo was front and center to see what I brought for breakfast.
Over in the chicken run, things were pretty quiet. With the temperature being much colder than our birds are used to, I kept them in for most of the cold weather at the beginning of the week. After the storm passed and the winds died down I gave them the option to come out during the day. Most of the time, the mere glimpse of snow on the ground will deter them from stepping outside. But this week, quite a few ventured out to scratch around any spots that were dry of snow. I spread out some hay for them to stand on because nobody likes cold feet.
We may not experience winter weather like some parts of the country and I am glad we don’t have as much winter as New England, the Great Lakes area and other colder regions. For those of us in the mid-Atlantic area of the East coast, this is cold enough. My pioneer spirit is rising to the occasion and I am grateful that we have not lost power with the heavy winds. I have become quite obsessed with refilling the water jugs as soon as I get back from the barns. Because you just never know what’s around the next corner and if there will be running water and electric when you get there.
Stay safe and warm! Wintery weeks don’t stay around forever. I am sure Spring will arrive someday.
For more on winter preparedness read Quick Winter Tips for Poultry and Livestock