Winter farming is a breeze compared to summer farming. While there is still lots to do, it’s a nice break from what the growing season brings.
All of our animals are very hardy, and though they may not like the cold, they sure can tolerate it. Our elk are practically made for extreme temps, our Katahdin sheep handle it well, and our chickens keep each other warm on the roost. Us on the other hand, need to dress warm to tolerate this cold!
3 Main Things To Consider When Winter Farming
Animals still need water in the winter, but it’s probably frozen. We were lucky enough to find a place with a spigot in the barn that does not freeze. With that, we fill buckets up and bring them over on the golf cart to our animals’ waterers. But then comes the problem of the waterers freezing.
There are a couple options:
Obviously, that pretty snow is covering up all of the grass so you’ll need to find something else to feed your animals. We are a pasture-raised farm so we give our sheep and elk hay in the winter. They have 2 feeders for the sheep and 1 for the elk that we keep full always! The more their bodies are chewing and digesting, the more they will keep warm.
On extra cold days (like this past week that was -30…….) we give them some alfalfa pellets as a treat and something that can be eaten closer to their structure."
Same with the chickens, since there is no grass we do feed them grain, as it helps keep them warm! Scratch grain is also good. We do not heat our coop.
Would you like laying on the cold snow night after night? Didn’t think so. Neither would your animals! So we put straw bedding down. This keeps their structures well insulated and provides a base that also retains heat. They’re always cuddling anyway, but this helps!
Let me know if you have any tips for winter farming in the comments below!