It’s cold. Very Cold. Temps are hovering around zero or below. This morning, it is 3 degrees. The wind is blowing and howling in the fireplace. It just SOUNDS cold. Here, cold means work to take care of the few stock we have. We don’t have hundreds of cattle or a dozen horses. We don’t have thousands of chickens or goats or sheep.
We just have a few horses, a few chickens, and 2 rabbits. Oh- and those cats. It is enough to keep us moving and getting us outside on days like today when all I want to do is snuggle in. Today, Horse Daughter is house and pet sitting for 2 friends, so I will need to get outside and do her horse chores. Only 2 days this time, which is good.
Here that means:
Time to break waters. The horse tank heater needs to be plugged in and checked to make sure it is working. Check the rabbit water bottles and make sure they aren’t frozen and they can get water. The Chickens water tank needs to be switched out and brought into the sunroom to thaw.
(Which by the way, is WARM!!! The heat is working in the sunroom!!! It is SOOOOOOO nice!!)
Time to make sure all the animals have warmth. The cats in the shed have boxes and blankets they can curl up in and hay bales to snuggle into. The horses are fine with their thick coats but 2 have blankets on because they needed an extra layer. The chickens will get some more bedding today to help keep them warm. Their coop is closed up and snug right now. The rabbit cages are covered with blankets to keep warmth in, they are in the garage because it’s warmer there. They get extra hay to help with warmth as well.
Feeding animals means dressing up in layers of CarHartt-jacket, snow pants, boots, hats, gloves. Warm socks and warm clothes underneath. My glasses steam up as soon as I come back in.
Gathering eggs and finding one or two frozen solid and cracked. We were finally getting more eggs, but now, because it is so cold, we are getting one or two less. The Americauna’s apparently have gone on strike until warmer weather returns. I haven’t gotten a pretty green egg in weeks.
Winter is hard work for everyone. Luckily, in between, we humans can snuggle into blankets on the couch until it’s time to go out again! We can come into warmth and eat warm homemade Potato soup and drink homemade hot chocolate.
The dogs, of course, have it easy. They go outside and get to come right back in and curl up on their beds. None of them like to stay out for long right now, especially Cossette the little poodle.
The other animals, for the most part, just snuggle in as well. But it is harder for them. They often lose weight over winter because it takes so much energy to keep their bodies warm. It is so important to keep them fed and watered.
It’s a big job. But exhilarating and I love it!