This morning, our farm thermometer read -10 below zero Fahrenheit
The wind chill was predicted to be as low as -30 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
Wishful Acres Farm is mainly a vegetable farm, but we do raise animals. Right now, there are about 150 laying hens, 2 goats, 7 farm cats, and 1 farm dog (he doesn't count in this post, his life is currently spent lounging & sleeping in front of our woodburning stove). But the rest of the animals live outside, in unheated barns and chicken coops.
What's it like to do the daily farm chores in this kind of weather? Um.... not so fun. It's not much fun taking care of chickens even when the weather is nice - they're the worst farm animal of all (that's for another post).
So, it's all about layering... long johns, jeans, multiple shirts, a hat with face mask, thick winter coat with hood, work gloves, rain pants, muck boots. Only after all these items are on will I venture out.
The animals tend to keep inside their coops & barns when the weather is this cold. In fact, it was so cold last night that we closed the coop & barn doors so the animals couldn't go outside at all (this kept that terrible wind chill OUT of their homes). This is the first time this year we've completely closed up the coops & barn, usually we allow them outside access at all times, but it's SO cold!
The goats have both grown a thick winter fur. Seriously, they're very furry right now, it's amazing! It keeps them warm.
The chicken & goat waterers are frozen every morning, and when it's this cold they re-freeze again just a few hours after filling them. The eggs have to be collected in the timely manner, otherwise they will freeze and crack.
Inside the coop, it's kind of nice that it's this cold, because the chicken manure is frozen & instead of mushing into it, I walk over the top of it. We ran out of straw for bedding last week & it shows. Haven't purchased any more yet, we were all laid up with influenza for over the past week... and let me tell you, if it's bad to care for the animals in this cold weather..... it's 10 times worse caring for them when you have full-blown influenza. I had to drag myself outside every day to feed & water them, when really I just wanted to be inside by the woodburning stove, laying down with the rest of my sick family!
So there you have it, caring for farm animals in sub-zero weather. Not fun, but can be worse.