Getting the Sheep and Chickens Ready for Winter
We’ve been spending some time getting the sheep and chickens ready for winter! This is our first winter having these sweet babies and like every other season so far there’s a bit of a learning curve as we figure out what works best for us!
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Getting the Sheep Ready for Winter
The sheep thrive in the winter! This is their time and it’s obvious! They’re more playful, running around kicking up their heels 🙂 And they’re already so fluffy! It’s also their breeding season! Babydolls’ breeding season is triggered when the days get shorter and cooler and will be coming to an end soon. I’ll share more about this is a dedicated post soon!
But one thing I noticed in the Fall was how dirty they were getting. We had a lot of rain earlier in the Fall so I kept the sheep off pasture a lot. The ag lime floors that I put in the barn have been awesome accept that they don’t absorb urine very quickly and the sheep’s wool was yellowing from it. So 2 weeks ago I started the deep litter method in their stables. So far I LOVE it! The deep litter method is where you put down some type of bedding, typically pine shavings, and continue to add to it until early spring. Then you clean the whole thing out.
Pros and Cons So Far
I thought it would be yucky and smelly not being cleaned out daily but that’s not the case at all! It smells clean and fresh like pine shavings and the sheep are already looking cleaner too! I started with the bedding being about 2-3 inches deep and have added a bag of shavings to each side once so far. Another benefit of the deep litter method is that it creates some heat as the material composts.
Obviously the down side of using shavings is how it gets stuck in their wool. Again, we are in the trial and error stages here! Lol! Since their wool was already quite dirty I figured, this year it wouldn’t make much difference. I did however, but a jacket to try out. If it fits they’ll all get jackets next Fall and we’ll see how the deep litter method goes this winter. I’ll let ya know!
Here’s what we’re using!
Tractor Supply Fine Premium Pine Shavings, Covers 5.5 cu. ft., 500F [More]
Food and Water for the Sheep
The sheep only need grass and hay year round. I keep hay out in the barn at all times for them. They also get a small handful of whole corn each per day as a treat 😉
There have been several days and nights in the 20s here already and the sheep’s water hasn’t frozen. They have water inside and outside the barn. I added straw under and around the their inside troughs and the barn stays surprisingly warm too.
Producer’s Pride Whole Corn, 50 lb. [More]
CountyLine Galvanized Utility Stock Tank, 23 gal. [More]
Getting the Chickens Ready for Winter
I worked on the coop a bit too. I removed the old door frame that was in the small room we’re using as the coop until we get the bigger side renovated next year. Some of my ladies were roosting up on the door frame and consequently pooping in their inside water bowl. Lol! They instinctively want to roost on the highest perch they can so I removed it. I also want them all to roost together for warmth as we come into the winter months.
So I removed the door and chicken wire wall. I added some supports to their roosting perches since they would all be on them and their getting extra…fluffy 😉 I also added a hook inside so I can keep their food inside and off the ground when it’s cold/rainy.
Adding some extra straw in the coop anywhere I could has really made a difference in temperature. I’m also doing the deep litter method in the chicken coop as well.
Food and Water for Chickens
I’m making sure the chickens are well fed as the weather gets colder. They get a combination of layer crumble and grain scratch as well as lots of treats 😉 Before our first really cold nights I put a rubber water bowl inside the coop with straw under and around it and so far it hasn’t frozen at all. I do think it helps tremendously that our coop is raised off the ground too.
Harris Farms 30 lb. Hanging Feeder, 1000295 [More]
Harris Farms 5 gal. Double Wall Drinker, 1000259 [More]
Fortex Industries 8-qt Rubber Feeder Pan [More]
DuMOR Organic 16% Layer Crumble, 4BM0651C [More]
DuMOR Premium 5 Grain Scratch, 30 lb. [More]
Well you can see how the barn kitties are keeping warm lol! Like our big dogs they are always allowed inside if they choose, but never stay in too long 😉 I always tell Ed the cats know how to live! They spend their days exploring the farm following me everywhere, and sleeping in the hay loft or inside.
Getting the Sheep and Chickens Ready for Winter
It’s no secret that I love taking care of our babies 🙂 They bring so much joy and purpose to my days! I’m also not looking forward to carrying buckets of water when it gets reallllly cold lol! It’s something I distinctly remember from growing up! But hopefully next winter we’ll have more convenient water options outside as well as new electrical wiring in all the out buildings. For now, we’re making the best of it and as long as everyone is safe, healthy, and cozy this winter I’m happy!
Hope you enjoyed our farm babes with us today! Be sure and follow me on Instagram @midcounty_journal to see them everyday in stories!
Thanks for stopping by the blog!