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Goats, gripes, and grasping for greatness
Getting ready for zero degrees 
6th-Jan-2014 09:37 pm
Teamed up
The goats, llama, and chicken are as ready as I can make them for tonight's big freeze. In the back pasture, the right stall of the barn is lined with plywood on the inside to block the wind, and has the heat lamp. I pushed the eight [baby goats, Pan, and Summer] to the back of that right barn stall and closed the creep feeder door on them, and turned on the heat lamp. Unfortunately, my little fleece kid jackets are too small for the little goats, but Summer's big jacket still fits her, so she is in a blue fleece and nylon jacket that is strapped onto her.

After locking up the kids-plus, I pushed the eight goats normally on the left side [Jared, Scout, Lerris, Jessie, Anna, Alys, Dahlia, and Ginger] over to the right stall as well. I lined the exterior stall walls with flakes of hay to block the cracks and give everyone plenty of food and bedding in one, and put extra hay in all of the hay baskets and the two ricks still attached to that side. I put one heated bucket in with the little guys and one out with the big guys.

With the kidding pen also dividing the front section of the stall, the big goats have plenty of walls against which to lean and/or block away the goats that they don't like. But there is still room in the front by the door for the llama, too. I did not lock the big goats into the kidding pen or the main stall in general because I'm still not sure about the politics of that group. Sure, I know that the Jessie cabal (Jessie, Anna, Lerris) gets along, but I don't know about the other five. I also don't want the llama feeling crowded more than necessary. What I expect to happen is for six of the eight to cram into the kidding pen section, with Scout and Ginger nesting in the back of the main section, with Hercules blocking the door.

When I left, everyone was eating and drinking except for Summer, who was already curled back down in her favorite corner, chewing her cud.

For the boys, I took two hay bales up front and plopped them down as windbreaks/food for the night. I'm not so concerned about the boys because of their mass and how deep I've let the hay build up this past week as bedding. They will probably be more thirsty than the girls because of how far away the water bucket is and how cold it is to walk all the way down to the gate from their barn. But if they want it, the water is there, and that bucket is also plugged in and won't freeze.

One of the major attractions of such a small chicken coop is being demonstrated tonight. The coop is barely four-chickens large, so three chickens and a full flake of straw should be warm enough tonight with the door closed on them. I don't have a way to keep water liquid for the chickens right now, though I may remember to fix that tomorrow by buying an electric dog water dish. We'll see. If I bring them hot water in the morning, they will have a few hours before it freezes.
7th-Jan-2014 02:48 am (UTC)
*brr* I'm glad I only have to think about keeping us warm!
7th-Jan-2014 04:14 am (UTC) - Farm raised
I remember the winter chores including bringing hot water to every animal on our farm in the mornings, and sometimes that included shoveling or reshoveling a path to each animal enclosure. This is part of why it's hard to wrap my head around people who freak out and don't know how to handle winter.
7th-Jan-2014 11:46 am (UTC)
Back before we put power out to the barns, I was hauling hot water every day. If the temperature stayed below freezing, I got to do it twice a day. I sincerely appreciate heated buckets.
7th-Jan-2014 05:43 pm (UTC)
It's nice to re-apply the winter skills every now and then. I grew up in the country in a drafty house with only wood-stove heat. Today I am cheerfully bundled up, including long john bottoms under my office slacks. This is a game we rarely get to play anymore, and I'm kinda enjoying it. I will be calling to check on my parents in their even-draftier-now house with only wood stove heat in a little while. I expect they've got a roaring fire and are doing just fine.
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