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cold weather on the farm!

 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
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it makes things soooo much more complicated. keeping water free of ice, additional hay, bedding, the increased pressure in the housing that results in the need for cleaning far more often, snow and ice stuck in feet, keeping birthing animals in shelter, ......sheesh. this stuff doesn't stick around long here, I can't imagine dealing with it for months. I guess you just have to be set up entirely different.

my goats are miserable.







 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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Looks like you gave them a nice dry warm shelter.    Here, the grass grows now in the rainy season so we plan to have babies now.    Extra work keeping them warm and dry.    Just had the first ones yesterday.
 
Gwen Lynn
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Well, I was wondering if you got any snow! Your goats and I are both miserable, in our own ways. Trixy is none too happy either. She just doesn't understand what has happened to her back yard! Here she is, with a look of contempt on her face, trying to figure out how to get to a dry spot. (Needless to say, she has spent most of her time indoors!)
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Emil Spoerri
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i feel sorry for my goats, all cooped up in the barn

no reason to let them out, nothing out there too eat, they will just compact the soil and make it even more muddy on their paths

goats are so wasteful of hay!

these guys just weren't meant for this climate, gosh i need to get my hands on some cows
 
Leah Sattler
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asmileisthenewak47 wrote:


goats are so wasteful of hay!



argh. isn't that the truth! I usually feed roundbales that per lb are around 25% of the cost of square and the waste is used for various things so it doesn't bug me so much. we buy them as we need them because we dont' have a good way of toting them around and is easy to just roll them off the pick up where we want them. last time we were unable to get one and we ended up with square bales. ack! it kills me to see that expensive hay stomped into the ground! for every mouthful they pull out they drop 3 mouthful sizes on the ground and walk on it! 
 
Emil Spoerri
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an older more experienced goat friend of mine explained to me the best way to feed goats

she claims that if you give  the goats a table to eat their hay off of, one in which they must stand their front legs on top of, they will waste little hay
 
Pat Maas
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
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My goats are wasteful also, but having them standing to eat their hay does cut down on the waste. They have feeders both indoors and out and it's real easy to see where it gets wasted more.

Indoors they have to stand to eat and the small amount wasted becomes part of the bedding. I clean out the bit they drag down at least once  day, spread over the old bedding, which helps keep them dry.

Wasted hay from the outdoor feeder-much more than the indoor feeder- it gets spread as sheet mulch. Anything that gets out farther in the pen becomes part of the berms being built with the rakings from the pen almost daily.

Leah,
Your shelter is much better than many I see around here. That and you have plenty of bedding to help keep them warm. Your goats look great and well loved.
 
Leah Sattler
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thank you pat. I do love my goats 

I use the old round bales as bedding. once they get eaten down to a particular point...generally when I see goats starting to climb it.... they get pushed in for bedding (or raked up for mulch or whatever I need) and the goats get a fresh bale. I am lalso eaving some of the waste from the bales over the rocky parts of the pasture so that I will eventually get some soil on there.

I found the best way to feed square bales without waste is hay bags with cinder blocks underneath to give their front end a step. I made my own one year out of old burlap sacks that I cut the corners off, stitched up to keep them from fraying and hung from the ceiling of the barn. they worked perfectly! the access holes were just big enough for them to nibble a mouthful out of and they couldn't pull big chunks onto the ground.  the bags only lasted one winter....but they only cost me .50 too!

the roundbales just work out better all around for me though. once we get our barn built here I will institute the hay bag plan for any goats put up for whatever reason. (birthing/treatment etc....)
 
Pat Maas
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
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Hi Leah,
     It's amazing what we can come up with when need arises. New barn on my horizon too. Do like the feeders indoors though as can feed from outside the pen.

Here is the one on the small side of the barn. They have access to both sides-pain to clean though. Anyway, it helps a lot on those bad weather days and was made from all scraps-screws being the exception! )
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suomi--Nicola Lloyd
Posts: 51
Location: Finland
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Hi,  well we dont have goats yet.. maybe next year...  but we do have the snow, oh and lots of it too, and the cold.
Ah yess the cold, its been between minus 20C-minus 30C (Ive no idea what it is in farenheit!) for over two months now! the sheep are sturdy creatures but even so Ive closed them into the shed at night, they are ok out during the day and can freely go back into the shed if they like. Ive increased their rations, but no too much, the biggest problem is water! it freezes so fast, so two buckets are in the wood room thawing out and one is out with the sheep. Its a bit of an adventure getting to them at times cos of the deep snow, at the moment we have to make our way around the barn, next year we will be able to walk through the barn to them..yiippeee
Its a real pain wwhen the snow from the roof dumps onto the ground right infront of the door, you have to move it straight away, good excersise though! its horrible when it starts to melt and then freezes, its like trying to move cement!
The chickens are in a room in the barn, we have insulated the floor with straw bales and they get extra warmth from the wood stove in the next room, we use an old cooker extractor fan to move the warm air into them.
We love winter but at the same time it can be quite challenging!  oh now its time to go and have a sauna...... aaaaahhhhh
 
Pat Maas
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
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Suomi,
    I'm jealous ( )of your sauna-just cleaned the barn and boy that would feel good about now! ) Next need to trim half the ladies feet before more weather moves in.
      Know how you feel with snow dumping in front of door and keeping it shoveled-chiseled out. It is work.
    Hat's off to you for the straw bales laid out and the wood stove next door for the hens. Sure they appreciate it-frozen toes in the winter makes for difficulty walking in the summer. And those combs intact make for better cooling in warmer weather. Over all happier hens! )
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
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Well I only have one goat and she is still in Alabama but I have 10 horses to care for here. 

I have to plan my watering as the hose faucet in the barn freezes as does the water barrels in the barn.  I top them off with hot water from the house each froze day, keeping it ice free.  Some days this takes several trips out. 

Next year we will have the water fixed and a water heater in the barn.  I plan it to be on a switch to just turn on as needed. 
 
Pat Maas
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
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Hi Jennifer,
    Know that job of carrying hot water to the barn. Have done much of it in my life. It's a necessity in really cold country.
    Here I take the frost free's out in late fall and reinstall in  early spring. Water with a hose out of the pump house and always keep at least one of bucket of water full near the water troughs. Break ice every morning early and use the ice on nearby free standing raised beds freshly mulched this fall/winter.
      The buckets do freeze set out, but by mid morning most days, the ice is pretty much gone. If the power is out or some other problem, the stock has water. It's just something I've learned about "doing" in this environment.
    You will love having a hot water heater in the barn. That's something I miss now during kidding/milking season, but one day.....
     
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
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I look back at all the years I spent the next county over without a water heater in the barn and wonder how I did it.  I was younger then.

Some wonder why I choose to retire here with the winters... but I enjoy it when it is not too much work. 

I actually rode the other night, in the moonlight, in the falling snow...no wind and a beautiful night.

So far I have only had to water out of the well house 3 times this winter.  I do not enjoy dragging out and draining the hoses.  If I can just top them off with hot water till the the barn water again works, I prefer to do that. 

Plus, the horses like the ice free water. 

It has gotten cold enough in the barn to freeze the gates to the ground.  I often can not open the front door {north side} for being froze to the ground.
 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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So far I have only had to water out of the well house 3 times this winter.  I do not enjoy dragging out and draining the hoses.  If I can just top them off with hot water till the the barn water again works, I prefer to do that. 


When I lived in eastern washington I used to have pretty good luck dragging the hoses over the top of a wooden fence to drain them- still a lot of hard work.    I boarded horses then for extra income.  It was always a big panic if I didn't drain them thoroughly and they froze with 7 horses waiting for me to get my act together.
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
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I remember not getting my hoses drained good enough and bringing them into the bath to thaw.  What a mess that was. 
 
Pat Maas
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
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My hose is only a 100' hose. I'm used to heavy work year round, so that makes draining it daily easy. It is really inconvenient not to do it right as the ladies need their fresh water daily.
 
I'll take draining the hose any day of the winter compared to having to dig up the frost free set down 3+' in January. Did that the two winters before this one. It just easier for me to do what I'm doing. Will be putting in a new line in this spring, one not under the edge of the eaves! Hopefully that will end dragging hose in the winter.

I remember those moonlit rides on still winter nights. It is an unforgettable experience. Especially when there has been hoary frost earlier, the moon light makes it look like a wintery fairy land. You are very fortunate to enjoy them now.
 
suomi--Nicola Lloyd
Posts: 51
Location: Finland
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We have had nearly three months of minus 20C, its now gone down to minus 30C!    the chickens are still warm and toasty and laying eggs,great girls   the sheep are looking good, its just a pain trying to keep their water from freezing all the time!
It is beautiful, blue skys, squeaky snow, cracking trees!  I try and chop some wood every day untill I get pulled into a warm house!   still love the winters though
suomi.
 
Pat Maas
Posts: 194
Location: McIntosh, NM
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Hi suomi,
      Winters here aren't too bad compared to upstate NY. The blue sky caught my attention the first moment off the plane and it was love! )
With an occasional single digit night and for the most part nights in the teens-mid range and day time temps above 40F, working outdoors isn't bad. No bugs or snakes to contend with.
    Glad your critters are comfortable and hens still laying. The ability to cut wood for heating is an important advantage to have.
 
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