Preparing for winter on the homestead

Hey friends, how’s your week going so far? Beckham has decided that 1am and 4am are the perfect times to nurse and party, so this mama is feeling a bit tired. We have my brother’s wedding (woo!) this weekend though, so fingers crossed that the kiddos let me rest up a bit!

Does anybody else feel like winter arrived really early this year? Before we even had a chance to pick up leaves, we got hit with snow. None of us (including our animals!) were ready for winter this year. Needless to say, we’re officially preparing for winter on the homestead. Below includes some prep tips!

Heated Water

If you live in a cold climate, then your farm animals will require some sort of system to prevent their water from freezing. We’ve been using  this heated waterer for the goats for a few weeks, and it works perfectly.

Seeing as we have a gigantic five gallon waterer for the chickens, we thought that we wouldn’t have to worry about the water freezing for another few weeks. Welp, we were wrong. Our chicken waterer froze overnight last week. Ben thankfully noticed first thing in the morning, but we clearly needed to purchase a heated water system for the chickens right away. We’ve been using this one and it’s been working great.

Winterize Shelter

During the warm summer months, we keep the windows in the chicken coop and in goat house open. (Side note – we used chicken wire in the windows to protect against predators while also allowing air flow.)

During the cold winter months, it’s important to have an enclosed shelter. First step? Sealing off the windows with a plexiglass overlay to prevent gusts of wind. Ben also sealed off any open areas in the goat house to ensure that Penny and Lucy stay warm at night.

Supplemental Heating

Chicago temperatures tend to be pretty drastic. One day it’s warm, the next it’s freezing. Although our chickens finished molting a few weeks ago and the goats already grew their cashmere underlayer, we decided to add supplemental heating for a few days to ease the transition from fall to winter.

Supplemental heating doesn’t need to be anything fancy – a simple heat lamp works wonders. The goats and chickens seem to be handling the cold weather fine, so we’ve already stopped using supplemental heating.

(Penny is so weird, but just look at her fluffy fur!)

Protection from Daytime Cold

Don’t forget to always have a covered area that your goats and chickens (or other farm animals!) can access during the day when needed. During times of extreme cold, wind, rain, or snow, the goats have constant access to the fully enclosed goat house OR the partially enclosed  lean-to area. The chickens are also always able to access the chicken run and/or coop to escape the weather when needed.

I hope these tips help you while preparing for winter on the homestead! I’ll see ya back on the blog next week, but you can check in with us on Instagram over the weekend too 😉

Preparing for Winter on the Homestead: Questions

Let me know your tips in the comments blow!

 

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