Well, the Polar Vortex is settled over our farm and its cold folks.. bone chilling, eye lash frosting, come in and warm up between chores, run extra heaters, and check the pipes (don’t you dare freeze) COLD!
We have hit daytime highs of -21 with evening hitting -30 to -35’s but that is before wind chill, add that wind chill and we are into the -40 to -45.. I have lived in worse and we have buildings and barns for the livestock even so.. the very young, the stupid and the old have been hit in this extended deep cold.
Do not think for a moment that we have not done thing’s right, we have extra bedding out, extra hay, adding in more grains, added extra water and water checks (frozen water does not a drink make) we have added in extra goodies to the water and we have checked for drafts and put up extra plastic and boards and more..
None the less, we have had loss’s.. our oldest ewe coming 13 in just a few months who was in the barn(the sheep get to come out for walk about during chores and then are happy to follow us back in again for their grain) only showed that she was off in that she did not want her grain with the rest, she was drinking and eating her hay on one chore and check and we went hmmm.. and she was in her stall, sleeping on her bedding and gone on the next check..
I posted on facebook and got very kind comments from a lot of my fellow sheep owners and they are right.. 13 is old for a ewe and she had a great life and passed in a safe and bedded pen.. and in that way, I get it.. most livestock animals are not lucky enough to be born and pass in old age on the same farm. Most are shipping or butchered by the age of eight as they are not as productive past that age.
But I like most critter owners, would have like another year or two yet.. we are greedy in that way.. she had a name, she was a look you in the eye and talk to you kind of sheep, she was a lover to treats and a sniffer of pockets, she adored apple or fresh carrots but her true favorite was the Baked Apple Treats for the horse’s. She was a great mom and a even better leader sheep for many years. Rest in Peace Mocha Sheep
Now for the dumb, the ducks think that if you fill the water dish with warm water, they should bath in it.. if you can fill the smaller pans, you can keep them snow bathing (which is what they need to do in this cold) but NO.. the young buggers decided to have a full bath and then with waterlogged feather (no down, no lift, no warmth) stay out in the outside pen and freeze to death.. Two died and the other one we got in time and moved back inside in the pen (which they have full access to) and under the heat lamp and is doing well
One of the rabbit kits decided that it was a good idea to stay out on the outside part on the wire which is only wind proofed on two sides instead of going into the inside and full bedded wind proof area and of course froze to death.. its siblings are all fat, warm and grunted at me from their bedding when checked on.. There was lots of room for the other one in the box.. part of me just pissed it died and other part says.. the smart live on, the dumb do not..
I have been keeping a close eye on my oldest farm cat but so far, we appear to be doing well, because she is smart enough to say.. I am moving into the house mom.. in fact they all did LOL.. I only have seven farm cats at the moment and every single one while willing to go out for a hour or two to the barns to hunt, come back to the enclosed porch and come back into the house for the rest of the day and the evening.. I am finding it to be a lot of cats and the litter box is getting a work out but everyone is warm and safe..
The farm dogs are going out and then even they are coming back in.. their pads are getting to cold, so if I wanted them out for longer like normal in regards to chores and such they would need have boots put on. Its just not worth it.. so they get their runs and much shorter outdoor time then normal.. I could not figure out where my Dezbot had gone and I found her sleeping in the feather quilts on the bed.. she rolled over for a belly rub and gave me a half hearted guilty look.. but its so warm here mom.. LOL
The horse’s are not happy about being asked to go in the barn as much as they have been and I do let them have some say in it.. they can choose to be out during the day but at night I want them in.
If you are warm, enjoy it.. if you are being hit with this cold.. stay safe, stay warm, keep the home fires burning and hunker down.. because they say its going to get even colder yet.. Do a little extra prep work, makes sure you have extra water put up, I hope you have a weeks or more of feed, grain and hay-straw put up.. I hope you have enjoy till spring on some of it but at least enough that you can stay off the roads, not need it if the tractor’s or the trucks will not start! Don’t just prep for your farm.. regardless where you live if you are in this cold.. prep a 72 hour kit at a min for in case of power out.. bring extra wood in for your stoves, make sure you have camping fuel to make a hot cuppa coffee or tea if need etc
All week long the headlines in the news across this amazing huge country has been tens of thousands without heat or power or both..
We had been invited to a outstanding party in the city.. (amazing people) but it will not really surprise you that we are staying here on the farm and doing our best to makes sure everyone and everything comes though yet another cold one..