What Goes Into Preparing the Farm for a Major Snowstorm?
What makes farming different when there is snow on the farm? Actually, nothing. The same things need to be tended to no matter what the weather brings. Except for the fact that, the older I get, the more I seem to fall on that lovely cover of white. The latest snowflake extravaganza left me rather beaten up. It was light fluffy snow which made it easier to shovel but walking through this powder, up to my knees, made the footing unstable. At least the fall was soft!
(Chickens are not known for their love of snow. After a couple days inside the coop, a few will be curious enough to try the pure white snow in the run. I will shovel some snow out of the way and lay down straw to entice the others to leave the coop)
The Real Difference When Snow is Expected on the Farm
The real work of dealing with snow on the farm begins before it happens. We spent the week leading up to the predicted blizzard in full preparation mode. I am a little bit crazy about not ever running out of feed for the animals, balanced with not hoarding food that might get stale or moldy. I try to calculate how much we will need, depending on the season, and plan accordingly. Even though someone had recently picked up feed, I noticed that the goat and sheep formula we use for our mixed flock, was running low. So that needed to be purchased. Water is another big concern on our farm. We are a well and septic area, which means that when the power goes out in a big storm , we have no water. To prepare for this we store water in gallon jugs, and three gallon containers. The frozen hoses are stretched out and then wound up to take inside. (Store in the bathtub or some other water proof space, so the frozen water won’t ruin your carpet or floor when it thaws.) Water really is our biggest worry on the farm, and more so when there is snow on the farm.
The next task was to collect up any tools and feed bowls lying around. This is so I can find the bowls without digging through a mountain of snow. This storm was predicted to reach blizzard status with the high winds so collecting loose objects before they become flying projectiles is a good safety precaution.
Waiting for Snow on the Farm
And then we waited. The storm arrived on schedule and the snow continued through the next day. 36 hours of snow on the farm. It took a good deal of time to make it to the farm the next day. Since we had supplied everyone with extra hay, feed and water and they were all safe, we didn’t panic. When a vehicle could finally make it down our street to the opening of the farm drive, I was getting anxious to see how the animals were doing.
When the coops and houses and stalls were opened I was glad to see that there was still water and food left from the night. Everyone was doing well. The chickens immediately started eating. There were already some eggs waiting despite the different schedule for the day. With a foot or more of snow on the ground, no one was interested in going out, except the ducks. They quacked for quite a while discussing the crazy weather.
The sheep were comfy cozy in their stall. The door leading to their outside paddock was nearly blocked by snow. I am glad that I blocked the doorway from the inside, so that no sheep were trapped outside during the storm. As long as they have hay in their manger I would bet they didn’t even notice the gate was closed.
See you tomorrow Bunnies.
I know the goats aren’t planning any outings in the snow.