Here on the farm, we are preparing for the impending winter storm that threatens to overtake us this holiday weekend. Readying for inclimate weather probably looks a little different for us than it does for someone who doesn’t live on a farm. We have a lot of lives at stake and the comfort of many lovely creatures who depend upon us to ensure their safety. Yesterday, I spent the morning preparing my birds for the upcoming frigid temperatures. Today, The Bibbed Wonder will ready our goats for the storm. The Bibbed Wonder’s porcine princesses and Prince Cleetus will be well cared for too. He’ll bed them down with straw, and they will burrow in and spoon each other to keep warm. By the time we are done, everyone will be snug and safe.
After I walked my canine BFF, I gathered the few eggs we received from my laying hens. Earlier in the season, when the temperatures were still warm and the weather still dry, I lined the perimeter of the coop with bales of straw. I also spread straw on the floor and in the laying boxes for added comfort and warmth. Yesterday, I filled the large feeders to overflowing in anticipation that a) I won’t want to carry five-gallon buckets of feed in frigid temperatures and b) the hens and roosters won’t want to venture outside in the cold and ice and snow. I continue to keep their waterer just outside their door. The chickens give off a lot of moisture with their normal respirations; they don’t need the added moisture in their coop. I’m satisfied that their coop is draft free and they have additional insulation to keep warm.
I also have my gimpy goose, Goostavia, to care for and keep safe. I filled Goostavia’s little coop with additional straw and filled the unused laying boxes with old feed sacks for insulation. I also placed a rubber feed dish inside her coop for her to access feed at all times. Goostavia likes to play in her water dish, so I will have to put her outside to get a drink in the morning and then place her back in her coop. She can’t maneuver the ramp to her coop with her unbalanced gate and bum leg. She is a bit high-maintenance, if I’m being honest. She’s also a bit of a diva. She’s indignant about being carried around and picked up. However, it is for her own good. She acts put out and grumpy, but I think she enjoys her warm little coop and private food dish without the competition from the rest of the flock.
As for the rest of the flock, they will receive an extra ration of feed to help keep them warm. The geese do not require any shelter from the elements. However, if they desire cover from the storm, they have a portable hut lined with straw for protection. It’s the same hut they nested in this spring. The geese and ducks should be fine, but I feel better knowing they have shelter options.
Abu, our billy goat, has to be moved into the barn with the rest of the herd. We have several girls who aren’t bred yet. My Lily goat is among them. Lily suffered a bout with meningeal worm earlier in the year. Her hind legs are still a bit weak from this, so she will not be bred this year. We will place Lily and a small group of girls in the pasture where Abu now resides. They, too, will have a small portable hut for shelter filled with straw and hay for insulation. The hay also gives them the needed energy to stay warm. Our little huts get nice and toasty when filled with animals nesting in the hay. I’m confident they will be safe and warm during this nasty round of winter weather.
Along with my barnyard family, I took the time to refill the bird feeders I had placed around the house. I love to watch wild birds while I drink my morning coffee or eat lunch with my bibbed overall-wearing buddy. Feeding the birds in the winter is not only beneficial for them, but it is also entertainment for me. I hate to think of anything being cold and hungry during these dark, cold days.
I anticipate my bean will have a snow day tomorrow. With my girl being home, I hope the spend the day baking cookies with her. The Bibbed Wonder tried to call dibs on my girl, but I had already claimed her. It must be nice to be so loved that the people who live with you argue over who gets to spend time with you. I’m sure she will divide her time between the two of us.
On this wintery Thursday before Christmas, stay safe…it’s going to get nasty. Be smart…this winter weather is dangerous. Make the necessary preparations to stay warm and comfortable during the storm. Take care of your animals…they rely on you for safety, warmth, and comfort. Of course, keep washing your hands. It is cold and flu season, after all. Nobody wants to be sick for the holidays.