1. Lay in an adequate supply of feed, just in case you can’t get out due to weather conditions.
2. Make sure hay and straw are covered or are in a dry holding area.
3. Make sure all feed dishes are clean.
4. Pull out electric water thawing devices for outside animal’s water troughs. Check to make sure they’re in good working order and put them in place the day before an expected freeze. Make sure all electrical cords are out of reach of inquisitive animals.
5. Make sure all animals have plenty of dry bedding. Add a bit of rosemary to dog, cat, and other outside animal’s bedding to keep insects away. (yes, they do thrive in the winter months too!)
6. Heat lamp up in the chicken coop.
7. Have an ample supply of water stored for your animals, in the event of a power outage. Include your own water needs in your water storage plan too!
8. Winterize and cover stock trailers, utility trailers, etc.
9. Our rabbits need extra protection. Their hutches are next to the chicken’s run, but are not in an enclosed building. We make sure they have extra straw…and check it daily because they will nibble on it. The hutches are covered with tarps to prevent the cold wind from blowing through. Their nesting boxes are checked and repaired for cracks or open places where wind might blow through as well.
This is the chore that I actually think that I love most. It’s like playing the Pied Piper. Just walk out of the back door, yell “Chicken!” at the top of your lungs, and they all come running. Ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys, cats, and the dogs. I’ve learned to feet the free rangers, the ducks, turkeys, geese and chickens first. Cats 2nd, and the dogs and goats last. If I make the mistake of feeding the cats first, even though I’ve learned to out it up high, inevitably, the chickens will fly up to get cat food. It seems like they ALL like cat food.
It’s a fun walk back to the chicken coop. Pied Piper it is. They all follow in a single line, or sometimes, like yesterday, whichever animal got there first, won! The geese and chickens run with their wings outstretched as fast as they can.
Those outstretched wings give them a little lift and enables them to run faster. Turkeys run like a prehistoric beast from Jurassic Park. The dog, well, she just runs over all of them, It’s like having an 80 pound weimeraner dozer. I can’t tell you how many animals she’s rolled in the past. It’s funny, because the rolled one just gets up and continues on their quick trek to the chicken coop.
I didn’t know that animals could be so much fun. One doesn’t need a television set with a collection of farm animals. Just sit back and watch. Eventually they will have you rolling, laughing. Farm work is hard work, but it’s so rewarding to see nature at it’s best. Enjoy the pictures…