Keeping livestock over winter - Tips and advice

sumi

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It's winter for most of us at the moment and nearly all of us here has some livestock, so I thought it'd be a good idea to share our winter livestock keeping tips etc here.

What do you all do to make things easier for you and your livestock over winter? Be it dogs, chickens, goats, sheep, pigs... Please share your methods, tips, lessons learned and anything else.
 

tortoise

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My goats are pastured all winter with minimal shelter - they can go in a grain bin to get out of the weather. This year DH put a frost free faucet on the side of our house, near the goat pen. I moved their water bucket closer to the faucet.... conveniently right next to the electric fencer outlet so they get a bucket de-icer this winter. DH gives them round bales - insummer he buys the previous year's round bales for cheap. Last winter they went through 3. They're eating on the same hay now - it's 2 years old. My goats are not producers. 2 whethers and a dairy buck. They do very nicely without much care or expense.

My ewes are bred in winter, so they get good hay. I check their body condition frequently and supplement with grain as needed. They lounge in the barn in winter but still have access to their pastures. DH hangs strips of carpet in the barn doors to block some of the wind.
 

Britesea

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Our chickens are breeds that do well in cold weather, so the only change we did was to put some tarps over their windows to block the wind, and I take a bucket of hot water out as needed- usually only once a day in our normal winter temps.
 

NH Homesteader

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I think I'm going to try soaking beet pulp in hot water for the goats this year. They (other than the buck, lol) should all be pregnant and they do get free choice hay but some mornings they just look pathetic and I feel bad for their spoiled selves, lol!

I give everyone fresh warm water 3x/day (when I'm able to, hasn't happened regularly this year but they do get it 2x/day every day).

Other than that, it's just extra bedding and extra feed. I add corn to the chicken feed. Turkeys won't eat it. The pig gets a bale of hay to burrow into.
 

frustratedearthmother

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Ummmm,,, lemme think... I know there's something. Oh yeah - I buy new mud boots...for ME, lol. And I close the window on the north wall of the barn....and I buy extra hay. That's about it.
 

baymule

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What are these winter preparations of which you speak? :idunno
 

NH Homesteader

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When we had ducks, we used to go out and smash a hole in the stream for them to swim in. Every single day. All winter. Now I'm remembering why we no longer have ducks.

I was going to fence the free ranging chickens in before winter, but ran out of time. They haven't left the shoveled area outside their coop... It's like a snow fence! Lol!
 

Denim Deb

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For the horses, I have a heater for my stock tank. There's an automatic waterer in their field, but it's not set right, so it freezes solid. I'll be redoing it come spring.

For the goat, I use to have the heated water bucket. But they only lasted about 2 years, and they're expensive! So, I just add a bit of unfrozen water 2x a day. If the bucket gets completely filled w/ice, I'll put in another bucket.

For the chickens, I have the black, flexible bowls. I turn them over when they're frozen and step on them to break the ice out. And since they would step on the bowl and dump it right after I filled it, I took some 2x3 scraps and made a frame for the bowl to sit in.

For the rabbit, I found that some of the containers you get from restaurants fit in her water bowl. So, I'll just take one out when it freezes, and put another one in. Then, I stick the one that's frozen in the sun so it can thaw out.
 
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