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Keeping livestock over winter - Tips and advice

Discussion in 'Everything Else Livestock' started by sumi, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. Dec 18, 2017
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses Super Self-Sufficient

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    I have several heated tubs & buckets but only use when several days of freeze, they are expensive to run. However, great if long cold spell!!. Otherwise, I break ice and add hot water. Sometimes I keep one heated tub plugged in to dip out the water for refills......in the barn, saves me steps. It's where animals can't use it.

    Generally we thaw most days and I refill tubs/troughs then, late day. We do not NORMALLY get day long freeze except a week or two in Jan/Feb time frame. A week if it's a bad winter. Then those tubs are plugged in!!!!! One year -- horrid weather -- almost a month of extreme and those tubs were a life saver for me and the animals. Refilling was even a chore that year. A 50gal dedicated water container in back of pickup was filled at the garage, driven to troughs.

    If you surround your troughs with wood, even insulate, it sure helps with freeze issue. You people in the far North, you can hardly keep a hose thawed while using it! Some of the mini horse people had tales that were unreal for their amount of freezing. I prefer my more moderate temps -- and even they are challenging some years.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
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  2. Dec 18, 2017
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    I dig out the heated dog bowl for the chickens and the heated bucket for the dogs. Not sure where you are buying yours,@Denim Deb , but my first one lasted 11 yrs and I've had the current one for two going on three yrs.

    I change my summer shade tarp out for my winter clear tarp, which lets in the light and the warmth of the winter sun.

    I place a tarp around the spare pen so I can store leaves and hay in there without the rain blowing in on it.

    I gather bags and bags of leaves in town to store for bedding, buy some square bales of old hay~if I don't have them stored already~ to use for insulating the dogs shelters/lounge areas.

    I clean out dog houses of old hay and cedar chips and put down some permethrin powder on the wood, put down fresh cedar chips if I have them, then fresh hay deep and plentiful. Plenty along the sides too so that it insulates a sleeping dog.

    I build my DL all spring and summer under the roosts, with the final greens piled on when I clean out the garden in the fall, then start laying down a little hay, then leaves on top of that. That compost pile under the roosts is kept moist on the inside throughout winter so that it composts, generating heat for the chickens roosting above. Each morning I flip dry bedding from elsewhere in the coop on top of the night's droppings, sealing their moisture and nitrogen into the mass.

    I check the flock for any external parasites, then I apply castor oil to feet and legs, combs and wattles. I dust the roosts down with permethrin powder, remove all the hay in the nest boxes and lay down some permethrin powder there and then put in a lot of fresh hay on top of that.

    The hay in my nest boxes is generally 6-8 in. deep with plenty curled up along the sides as well, for even more insulation of those eggs. I don't get any frozen eggs, even in teens below zero, unless I would forget to collect them...even then, only a few will be frozen in those temps, even left over night. The hay, the thick wood of the laying boxes, the warmth of the DL...I think all of these things coincide in keeping eggs from freezing.

    I move my feed can and my fermented feed bucket(s) down to the house. I keep the fermented feed in the mud room/pantry to keep it from going dormant or freezing altogether. That room is unheated but I leave the door cracked a little so that it gets a little heat from the house.

    Then it's just about carrying water to keep the waterers freshened, collecting eggs, feeding.
     
  3. Dec 18, 2017
    Denim Deb

    Denim Deb More Precious than Rubies

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    Bee, I got them in TSC.
     
  4. Jan 6, 2018
    Denim Deb

    Denim Deb More Precious than Rubies

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    Got to thinking about this thread because of the cold we've been experiencing and the problems so many w/larger animals are having keeping water from freezing.

    In the field next to mine is a different type of automatic waterer. The one in my field (if it was working) has a heater in it to keep the water from freezing. And I also have a stock tank w/a heater in it. Both of these use quite a bit of electricity to keep the water from freezing. When I get my own place, while I'll still have the stock tank, I won't be using it as much. Instead, I'll get a " drinking post" waterer. This type of waterer does not use electricity. It works about like a frost free hydrant. There is a bowl, but the water does not stay in it. The animals have to push on a paddle. The bowl fills w/water so the animal can drink. Then, the water drains out.

    Here's a couple of different styles of them. The cost is about the same as for the style of waterer that's in my field, but is a lot less bother.

    http://www.rammfence.com/barn/horse-waterers-and-buckets/horse-post-waterer

    https://www.horsedrinker.com/products/horse-donkey-mule-waterer/
     
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  5. Jan 6, 2018
    baymule

    baymule Super Self-Sufficient

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    I've seen those before. And I've also seen the mess a real smart, real bored horse can make by pushing down on the paddle and letting it over flow. They are always a step ahead of us.......:lol:
     
  6. Jan 7, 2018
    treerooted

    treerooted Almost Self-Reliant

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    I only have chickens, and like Britesea I got birds that would be able to withstand the cold. Even with the -40 temps (not in their coop mind you because there's no wind) they're doing fine.
    I use a heated dog bowl because I wouldn't be able to keep up with the freezing otherwise.

    I don't do anything else, but I'm taking in the various tips and may implement some myself.
     
  7. Jan 7, 2018
    YoteMeadows

    YoteMeadows Power Conserver

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    We do the standard extra hay since that digesting it is what produces heat for horses. Our horses are part dessert rats and are very fuel efficient, so they don't get grain. They have access to a shelter and a round bale 24/7. Chickens and ducks get their boxes and coops stuffed full of hay and or straw. As far as water...well, we don't have any heated buckets, so it is breaking ice, pulling ice chunks out, and re-filling with water twice a day. We clean the coops out once a week and reload, dumping all the old dirty stuff into a compost pile.
     
  8. Jan 7, 2018
    Denim Deb

    Denim Deb More Precious than Rubies

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    I can't put out a RB. Licorice is fat enough as it is. If I put out a RB, she'd look like a pumpkin w/legs. The past few days, the weather has been so bad I've had to put their hay in hay nets and hang it in the run-in. It would have been buried by the snow on Thursday, and would have blown away every other day.
     
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