Now that we've got our little farm going with about 60 animals, there's more to consider than heading to the library for some good books and the grocery store for, well, groceries. Okay, I mean treats to munch while hunkering down under a nice warm blanket! I was mentally planning my To Do list and thought I would share. It isn't big but everything needs to be completed.
We've got to make sure the animals will all be warm and dry and that their food is accessible to us if we have to slog through a foot of snow AND that they get plenty of water. Power is usually pretty good where we are but it does go out and you just don't know how long that might last. As we are on a well that brings up water using, you guessed it - power, we'll need to fill up jugs and the like so we all have water to drink. Our furnace though propane fuelled is also run on power. We've got a wood stove and have managed to stay ahead of the log cutting and splitting but we are out at the moment. Lots of logs, they just need a chainsaw to cut them up so we can split them. I'd rather be doing that while it's still pleasant outside than when it's -30!!
Oh right, and there's the grocery store for us. Of course that has to wait until the animals are taken care of. They come first.
The chickens have a well protected coop and Troy built a pen for them that is currently covered with a tarp until he can get the tin roof up. That gives them some outdoor space if it warms up enough for them to be let out of the coop. Snow and cold are not good for their feet. I'll be adding some straw for them and moving the big water dish inside. Like other animals, chickens need water when it's cold as it (somehow) helps them regulate their temperature.
The rabbits have their own fur coats but when it gets this cold, they really need the straw in their nesting boxes so they can go in and warm up. They dig little burrows in there and sometimes all you can see is a nose. We'll need to get some hay over to the rabbitry for them, too. Usually we just go and pull some from the big round bale by the goats but, hello, -30! I don't want to be out wandering around more than I need to.
The goats are the biggest concern for us. It's our first winter having them as we just got the herd in April and it's all still very new to us. We've had billy goats in with them for a couple of months and expect that about 28 does are pregnant so making sure they stay healthy is key. Troy has got a small barn and calf shelter for them and built an addition onto the barn so they should have lots of room to curl up once we add in about a round bale of straw. There are heat lamps in there, too, so we think they should be comfortable. We are a little concerned about the wind, though. If that picks up from the east/south-east it might not be so comfortable for them. Troy will figure something out, he always does. The goats are pretty spoiled! We'll have to fill up the water trough and the hay feeders. I guess we better make sure we've got enough pellets, oats and barley for them, too near their pen. Anything we can do to save steps will be a big help.
Off the top of my head, these are the things we need to do to get ready for bad weather. I guess I should also make sure our snow pants, jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, etc are all handy, too. I think they are but better to confirm that ahead of time than try and remember if they were left in the rabbitry, or somewhere else!
Hmm, guess we'd better make sure the plow is plugged in, too, so we can get in and out of the property. Below is a picture from last winter when I tried to get up our drive (we're on a hill) before we'd had a chance to plow it and the truck slipped off. ...oops!