“January Has Come In Like A Lion…”

That saying use to apply to March around here but for the last 5 or so years, it’s an excellent description of what our January’s have done. This one is no exception. We thought it was cold on New Years Day when the thermometer topped out at a balmy 42 degrees..well, I am here to tell you that was a heat wave! Since then our nights have been in the mid-teens and our days have struggled to reach 30 degrees and oh good Lord, the wind! The daytime sustained winds have been around 25 mph, with gust over and above. I am a huge lover of cold weather but if there’s no snow involved, it just as well be 70! This is ridiculous. I feel so sorry for all of our friends in the mid-west and up North. The prediction was for a hard Winter and I think we’re having it.

My talk about the cold is leading me to take a moment to discuss animals care in the harsh Winter months..mostly, water. Here at the farm, we are not fortunate enough to have a year round outside water source for the livestock. During good weather, we use hoses from the house but this time of year, livestock needs water too..possibly more than in the heat of Summer. What would normally take about 30 minutes in the morning and evening to do livestock feedings and waterings, is easily taking up to an hour and a half each time for us. Everyone must always remember that our animals need to have water sources that are clear and flowing for at least a little bit of every day. We are feeding diets high in roughage (hay) and grain which both absorb moisture in the gut. Feeding like this with a lack of water will take a sheep, goat and llama (speaking for my own animals) down quicker than parasites. So please, when you are doing your daily chores in this weather, remember water. Also, on this same note, don’t forget any outside pets you may have. I know that I am not telling anyone anything they don’t already know, but usually your pets water dishes are much smaller and shallow, which means they freeze much easier..just keep an eye on them too. I just hate it when a fellow farmer friend  tells me about loosing livestock in bitter cold weather. I know that the chore of water hauling is not easy, especially when you get to be our ages, but keeping our stock alive and healthy is so very important.

So, tell me, now that you know that our New Year has brought additional work for us..how about you! Any stories or other recommendations you want to share? Feel free to leave us a comment.