Winter is here! For many people who own, live, or work on farms, this is their least favorite season. There’s already plenty of work involved in running a farm, even without dealing with the additional hassle—and danger—snow and cold present. Here, a Mt. Airy, MD vet lists some great winter farm hacks.
Say ‘No’ To Frozen Hoses
Use a spaghetti spoon to get ice out of a water bucket. Heated buckets can also be a good solution, but they aren’t practical for every barn. In fact, you wouldn’t want to use these around certain animals, such as horned goats. Another way to insulate your buckets is to put them inside bigger buckets. Fill the space with hay. Voila!
Mix one part water to three parts white distilled vinegar to make a homemade de-icer. This will help remove ice from windows, as well from metal objects, like latches.
Nix Slippery Patches
Many farms and barns have specific areas that are prone to forming ice patches. Throw some hay, kitty litter, or bedding on these spots to provide better traction.
To quickly warm your hands up, take your gloves off and put your hands against your neck.
Keep Thin Animals Separated
Monitoring your animals’ body condition is absolutely essential in winter. You want your four-legged buddies to have a layer of fat to help protect them from the cold. If some members of your herd are thin, separate them from the others, at least for feeding. This will help ensure that they’re getting their share of food.
Feed According To Weather
When you know there’s a cold snap coming, give your animals larger portions for a few days beforehand. This will give them a bit of extra fortification against frigid temperatures.
Make A Windbreak
Wind is often more of an issue than actual temperatures. Your herd will need, at the very least, a three-sided shelter. However, they may also appreciate a windbreak in the pasture. You can make a simple one out of bales or plywood pretty easily.
Minimize Hay Waste
Feeding hay in a net or trough decreases the amount that ends up soiled and/or trampled. We also recommend storing hay indoors. This can significantly reduce the percentage that goes bad.
Please contact Taylorsville Veterinary Clinic, your Mt. Airy, MD vet clinic, for all your animals’ veterinary care needs. We’re here to help!