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If You’re Cold, They’re Cold: Farm Edition

It’s cold enough to for little icicles to freeze on MissE’s whiskers!

It’s cold enough to freeze the eggs before I collect them!

Brrrrrr!

How do you protect the animals from the cold?

Most farm animals are fine in the cold. They grow thick fur to keep them warm.

MissE and Stormy both have nice thick coats that help keep them warm.

Most farm animals need a place to get out of the wind and snow. My cows, goats, sheep, and chickens have dry places to sleep. They also head into the barn in the day time if the wind is blowing hard or if we have a storm during the day.

Stormy doesn’t mind the cold. She is usually waiting for me at the gate in the morning. She wants some breakfast.

Sheep grow a thick fleece (coat of fur). It’s so thick that they don’t know that they are covered in snow, so sometimes they sleep outside.

Their wool fleece is amazing! If it’s raining, their fleece might get a little wet, but their skin doesn’t get wet. Their fleece is a little bit like a rain coat, most of the rain slides off.

The goats all grow a thick coat in the winter, too! I love fuzzy goats and cows and sheep!

Midnight, the barn cat, has a cozy spot to sleep. Under the black blanket is a heated dog bed. It keeps the hose from freezing, and it gives Midnight a warm place to snuggle.

Do you see the shiny stuff? It’s an old windshield sun protector for a car. It reflects the heat just like a mirror reflects your smile. It’s nice and warm under there!

Baby Animals in Winter

We won’t bring a cow in the house when it’s cold. Cows can’t be potty trained very easily. And ewwww… yuck! Can you imagine the mess that cow poo would make in the house? No, cows and grown up animals that are healthy belong outside.

Some baby animals need special care so they can stay warm in the winter. Goat kids don’t have a nice, thick coat when they are born. Our baby goats wear sweaters. Our sheep have a thicker coat so they are usually okay when it’s cold. Baby goats and lambs do fine outside in the winter with a little bit of extra care.

Aren’t goat kids cute when they have sweaters on? Do you wear your winter coat when it’s cold outside?

It was very cold when MissE was born. She had a nice stall, and we put a big dog coat on her. She did great when she had a coat on and a place to stay out of the wind and snow.

Sometimes we bring baby animals into the house.

This is a little lamb that we had years ago. It was too cold for her. And her mom wouldn’t take care of her. Sometimes sheep just don’t want to care for their baby. Those lambs are called bummer lambs.

Sometimes the lambs need extra snuggling to get warm enough to stay healthy!

Our old dog, Sam, was really good snuggling lambs.

We miss that good dog.

Sometimes hens will hatch chicks in the fall or early winter when it is very chilly. The mama hens are really good at finding a dry spot for their eggs, and a safe place to snuggle their chicks to keep them warm.

Winter Food and Water

Farm animals also need food to eat, and water to drink so they can stay warm.

All the tanks of water that the animals drink from have a special heater in them. Tank heaters don’t get the water hot, they just keep it from freezing.

The tank heaters plug into an outlet in the barn. I’m very careful when I put the tank heaters in. Only the protected part of the cord goes into the water. I often have to use an extension cord. The place where the two electrical cords connect is always in a dry spot inside the barn. Always let an adult take care of electric tank heaters. It’s not something for kids to do.

The chickens have water with a heater under it, too. But chickens don’t always care about warm water.

How do you feed your cows?

Our cows get 2 buckets of hay cubes each day. The sheep and goats eat 2 buckets a day, too.

Some of the cows I have had in the past have eaten more than that. MissE and Stormy stay pretty chubby on one bucket each.

I feed the cows in an old wheel barrow that is near the barn. It’s a good spot because the rain and snow don’t get in their food.

The sheep and goats also have places that I can put food that don’t get covered in rain or snow.

Cows, sheep, and goats all digest their food differently than humans do. Those animals are ruminants.

When farm animals digest their food (break it down inside their stomach so they can use the food) it creates a lot of heat. It’s almost like cows, sheep, and goats have a mini heater inside their body all the time keeping them warm. Do you want to learn a little more about ruminants, and what other animals are ruminants? You can check this link.

Between food and a fuzzy warm coat, they are quite happy in the winter.

Yes, it’s cold in the winter. It’s also beautiful!

How do you clean the cows?

I don’t clean the cows very often. Cows that have a dry place to sleep don’t get very muddy.

I use a curry comb to get some of the mud off if the cows have big patches. They stay warmer if they aren’t too muddy.

What do you get dressed in when it’s winter?

I don’t grow a winter coat like the farm animals do. I bet you don’t, either.

I usually wear a very warm hat, a very warm wool sweater (yes, it’s made from the same thing that the sheep grow: wool!), overalls, and thermal under cloths. Sometimes I wear a coat, too.

I’m outside in the barnyard for an hour or more every morning. I need to dress warmly to stay outside so long!

Thanks for the questions! I love to read them and answer them.

Have a great week!

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