Winter Tips for your Farm Animals and You
this homestead living
article from our regular homestead blog writer from Gypsy's Wanderings.
This homesteading today article deals with winter and gives tips and
on how we can make the most of this season.
We all decided to live in the country,
to be more independent, and rely only upon ourselves for different
reasons. We do have one thing in common; we are all searching for the
same result. We all need to wake up in the morning feeling good about
who we are, and what we will accomplish that day. We all need to know
that we are not dependent, but solely independent from everything
except the natural world that surrounds us.
We need a sense of freedom that only a
big back yard and the crowing of the rooster can give us. Not all of us
go about our personal sense of freedom the same way. Some of us are
more farmers, some more survivalists; however, we are all brothers and
sisters in the self striving acts that make us individually and
My name is Gypsy, and I will be taking
you down my own personal path to homesteading,
health and more. I'm the
one that was born walking on earth,
instead of concrete, just like most of you.
With winter bearing its teeth into many
of our lives, I thought I would start my first article with how to do
some simple little things that will make homestead living, and the life
of your animals easier, and better during this bitter time of the year.
HOMESTEAD LIVING - LIVESTOCK WINTER TIPS:
Let's start with basic
the Holocaust it was found that concentration camp survivors did not
gain weight by eating every day. They stayed thin, thin enough that a
new system of feeding was tried to get these people to gain weight.
They were fed every other day. We can learn from this.
In the winter I have hay
available at all times. I do not however give good hay, or grain every
day. I allow times of a form of rest. Rest for me and the farm animals
actually make us both healthier.
Every other day I give feed
plentifully; I give extra hay and better hay. If I'm to grain I do it
every other day. This means I'm doing fewer chores, getting more relief
from the cold. I and my animals are actually holding or gaining weight
during the worst time of the year.
HOMESTEAD LIVING - POULTRY WINTER TIPS:
This simple practice
but your poultry. Chickens
have a very different
metabolism. With the
poultry I go to the grocery store every other day and get the old
vegetables they would otherwise have to pay to have hauled off.
While my birds are on full
day, they get added greens, fruits and vegetables
every other day. This
seems to add to their over all health, while lessening my chores every
other day, thus, lessoning my stress.
HOMESTEAD LIVING - ANIMAL SHELTER TIPS:
Something many don't
think about in
winter is shelter. Actually I believe many overlook this subject. Barns
are places where frozen urine still emits ammonia fumes, waste freezes
and builds up. So that in the spring it is one of the most unhealthy
places an animal can be, yet it is raining so we can’t clean it until
spring rains subside.
A simple and healthy way to make sure
that livestock shelter is only used when needed for shelter purposes
and not a
place to hang out, is to feed your farm animals in the wide
open. This allows the spring
rains to wash away most of the built up manure, and for the animals who
have their noses lowered to eat, not to inhale the ammonia fumes that
add to lung diseases in the winter.
HOMESTEAD LIVING - LIVESTOCK HEALTH TIPS:
You will see the cases
nasal infections and so on drop drastically by feeding in an open well
aired out spot. You will also see your farm animals hang out there, bed
there and soak up much needed sunshine and vitamin D and C. Rotate this
feeding spot if you can, so that when the last of the snow starts to
melt you can seed on top of the snow, knowing that the plants will soak
down into well fertilized soil where birds can't and won't go to get to
Hand casting on large areas will be
extremely productive this way. Plants are allowed to get very
established before free range animals will attempt to graze these
areas. This will also lesson hoof rot, as the animals will not hang out
in the winter feeding spots. They are mushy and wet and they are
looking forward to new grass, thus taking them to dryer pasture.
Something that barn feeding disallows.
HOMESTEAD LIVING - LIVESTOCK FEEDING TIPS:
The magic to feeding in
is not just location, but knowing what your feed is doing. Corn and
other fatty foods do not keep your farm animals warm. Fatty feeds build
They are best fed in the fall, and a week before a major storm, if you
have that much time to plan ahead. Feeds like oats, sunflower seeds,
hay, oat hay, and corn stalks are the magical feeds that will cause
your animals to get an instant warm up.
Digesting that fiber and hard food
stuffs takes energy, energy creates heat. Yes, internal heat via
digestion. Just like a warm cup of tea does the trick for you, some
crappy old wheat or oat straw with just enough grains in there to make
it fun, or some corn stalks is just what they need to keep comfy on
those below freezing nights. Goats
and sheep will love you for a hand
full of sunflower seeds or some saved up pumpkins.
If you haven’t done so, winter is also
the time to think about your spring garden. Housing sheep and goats in
your garden area over the winter will prove to be better then Miracle
Grow come spring. That leftover hay that gets trampled into the ground
can also help with mulch. I know the tiller hates it, so sell that
tiller and invest in a plow that your pony or goat can pull, it's great
fun, does a better job and will be an awesome excuse to spend more time
outside when the weather is good. Caprine Supply is a good source for
small farming equipment that your sheep, goats, dwarf cattle or pony
can pull. I hope this has given you some things to think about and make
you and your animals winter a bit easier.
HOMESTEAD LIVING - MORE WINTER TIPS:
good winter time tea for you: Crush some rose hips (great
source of vitamin C) and add
them to a mix of some saved up orange or lemon rind. If you didn’t save
back some raspberry leaves last summer, shame on you! I’m sure you will
this coming year. You can substitute Alfalfa, yup.. that stuff the
sheep are eating.. the leafy part, and add some sorghum molasses - not
honey. This warm drink has just given you more vitamin C then orange
juice, is awesome for your lungs, and adds some much needed vitamin B
in there for some energy to un-sludge you and help with winter
added pick-me-up for your chickens and poultry:
Don't toss those deer hides out. You can either cut the fat off of them
for your geese, or just lay them out hide side up for poultry that can
peck. Even after they freeze, that fat and meat will be a great boost
and add to winter egg production for your chickens, turkeys and other
fowl. If you fish, your ducks
will go crazy for that
protein you are
tossing out. Toss it out into your garden like I know you are already
doing, but make sure your ducks have access to it. They need some added
winter treats too. They poop where they eat, so your garden won't
Those Red Tails and foxes
are hungry to this time of year, keep them away from your chicken pens
along with the coon and other varmints by tossing deer heads and other
things you don't want in your chicken pens close enough to the farm
that critters coming for a free meal will find them, yet far enough
away that you don't have to worry about them when the weather warms up
good treat for your dogs this time of year is not to allow
them to feed up on your hunting scraps, this causes gas and if your dog
is laying at your feet, like mine is, raw deer is not
your friend! Instead dehydrate the lungs, kidney, and other organs as
treats, they will still benefit while you control amounts and lesson
the after effects of such a rich diet. If your dog lives on meat year
round as I know many do, add some warm oatmeal or corn meal to the mix
so they can get some added energy to fight off the cold. Now there's a
good homestead living piece of advice!
think I covered everyone here on our first article on homestead living.
So stay warm, and feel free to drop me a line if you have topics you
would like to see covered in this blog. You can contact me through my Contact
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