January 14, 2009

Brrr! Getting Ready for the Cold!

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I spent this morning getting things ready for a couple days of windy and cold weather since this evening the temperature is expected to fall into the 20's with 20-30 mile per hour winds and lows of only 5 above tonight. Then tomorrow is expected to be even colder with a high of only 20 with another 5 degree night Thursday, wind chills below 0 is expected as night falls. I am hoping the weather for the weekend holds true as I consider 45 pretty nice weather for this time of year.

I started by making sure all the ice-free buckets and stock tank heaters are in working order, then I filled the horses stock tank so I know she will have plenty of water until the weekend and I will only have to carry water for the goats. I put a thick layer of fresh straw bedding in all the animals shelters and sheds and blocked off as much of the open side of their sheds as I could and still allow them to come and go as they please. It is very important during cold and wet weather that goats have a good, draft free shelter where they can stay dry and get out of the wind.

Even though my goats will have 24/7 access to unfrozen water because of their ice-free buckets I will also bring them warm water twice a day because goats don't like to drink very cold water and may not drink enough, however they love warm water during these cold spells and will drink the bucket right down. This is also important for your bucks and wethers because they can be susceptible to urinary stones so it is important that they drink enough water, even when the weather is cold.

I also make sure all their hay feeders are full at all times because goats and other livestock need more food energy in cold weather to keep warm. If your goats don't have enough roughage, the pounds will melt off of them as they rob body fat to create energy for warmth. More total pounds of roughage can help to keep them warm, since the fermentation and breakdown of cellulose creates heat energy so it is especially important they get all the good quality hay they can eat in this kind of weather and some grain is a good idea as well.

12 comments:

Claire said...

There are some great tips in this post on goat care for cold weather. We have similarly horribly cold weather right now, and I didn't know some of these. As new goatherders, it is important for us to learn these things! Thanks!

Amy said...

It's 15 degrees right now at 4:13PM and snowing but feels like 5 degrees out but we're under another winter weather advisory right now!

Patrice Farmer said...

It's a high of 9 today...I know with the weather dipping your thoughts are on them. Hope they'll be fine.

Peggy said...

Been getting things ready around here all day. I have 3 that are due to kid tomorrow so really making sure they have dry warm place to kid.

The Scavenger said...

Great advice for all. We are looking at 2 degrees here tomorrow night. Brrrrr!!!!

Chris

Joanna said...

We are doing the above, but thank you for the tips. Our goats have the ice-free buckets but Mike also totes warm water down to 'em. Unlike some people I have heard about, our bucks are as spoiled as any of the other critters here.

KathyB. said...

Good feed tips for shorn ( naked ) sheep too. I know that because of high alfalfa and feed prices it is a temptation to cut back on feed for livestock, but when you consider the price of vet bills for under-nourished animals, and too small kids and lambs that struggle to survive, scrimping on adequate nutrition is not good thing.You are so right about the need for added nutrition for winter feeding, especially in weather like yours.

Lots of hard work, hauling buckets of water in freezing weather , sounds like your herds are well fed and cared for !

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

Thank you all, I really enjoy reading your comments. Oh Peggy I don't envy you having goats due in this cold weather. It is so hard to predict what the weather is going to do, a couple years ago we actually had warmer weather in January than we did when my goats were kidding the first part of March.

Lea of Farmhouse Blessings said...

Oh I LOVE Emma!

Smiles,
Lea

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

Thank you Lea! Emma is quite a character, I really love her too. She is the herd "tattle tale", if any of the goats are where they are not supposed to be or something is going on, she will be quite vocal in complaining about it, so I know to listen for her.

Hidden Brook Farm said...

Good info! A little warm water daily makes a big difference in keeping them hydrated properly!

James said...

Stay warm out there during you cold snap!