I started chores at 11 am this morning, first with the skid steer clearing away some of last night's 8 inches of new, damp snow. It is only -5, so the snow is heavy and slippery. I did not have enough diesel to do the long driveway, but will do that tomorrow. The sheep and goats needed new bales of hay. The hay net was frozen to the ground in the sheep pen and ripped almost a quarter along the side. I will have to fix that real soon. The technique is similar to hemming pants, I think and the company does provide some extra string for that purpose. I am thinking hay nets are not very good in this climate, especially not for small ruminants. They are a lot of trouble, the sheep trample them and the hay in them as they eat, and even tied up, there is a pile of crapped on hay inside the net that is frozen to the ground. Then the net has to emptied once it is free and put over a new bale and then tied again securely. The sheep will find a little hole and make it bigger and bigger so they can stick their heads in, then if one sheep has her head in, the rest want theirs in too. So, the net needs to be tied tightly.
I am trying a new way to do the net. I put the hay on the ground and the net over the top of it just to the ground, not around the underside to surround it. It might be easier to release if it is not sitting directly on the ground. So, the nets for the sheep were taken out, two of them, and one put back, plus two free smaller bales. The goats have stopped eating from their hay net because they do not like to walk in the snow and there is no path to it. So, they got half a bale of good hay and some green feed loose. The cows got green feed and they have a hay net with wider spaces which they are learning to eat from. The rams are fine for another week. This all has to be done on the weekends now, because with work, I only have time to feed and water the animals in the morning and it is dark when I get home.
The pigs were moved back to their pen. I was supposed to catch the piglets and put them in the truck to take to be butchered tomorrow, but will have to try to do that in the morning. This is one task I might need help for, but I will try it alone first. The pigs make a lot of poop alongside the chicken pen, which they have determined to be their potty area. GROSS!. So they are locked in their pen now. Wilbur would not let Clara in the house, so I put straw in the other house and also tipped a bale for her. She chose the tipped bale and the piglets wanted to go to their mamma, so I let them in too.
The hoop coops were caving in from the new snow load. The duck and goose house was right caved in and I had to get all the snow off and go inside and push the wire up as hard as I could then prop it up with a board. There were 4 other pens that needed snow cleaned off the roofs. There is a good 2 feet of heavy snow on top of them and it was a hard lot of work to get it off, but I did and all is well til the next snowfall.
That crazy rooster and the hen that roosted in the pine tree now, finally go in the coop on their own. The other rooster died in the minus 41 we had when he flew somewhere and I could not find him. The other two were captured and again locked inside. Now they stay there. Dumb chickens!! The chicken coop and duck and goose coop got new hay sprinkled on the floor. Once a week I do that. The birds eat quite a bit, but it also is nice and clean for a couple of days before the dropping begin to build up again. It will be hard to liberate the big coop in the spring after it thaws with all that manure inside. If I had a bigger machine I would simply lift the coops straight up. Instead I roll them over and that works just fine too.
I gave Mattie a shot of vitamins and stuff. She is anemic and is not responding to anything. I do not want to lose her and I have no idea how old she is, only that she is the grandmother of the other Nubian, so she has to be getting up there. I checked Daphne, who was anemic and she is looking so much better, but I gave her a booster shot anyhow. She usually has quads, so she needs to be really healthy. Everyone else seems to be doing great, despite the lesser quality of hay this year at triple the price of good quality last year. There will likely not be many twins born, but a healthy single will be just fine, too.
I came in just after 6, after feeding the dogs dry dog food, which they do not like and hardly touch. It is day 3 with no meat though. I could not get any last week, due to a slow down at the butcher shop. I am roasting some meat for the dogs and will put the juices over rice and give that to them tonight. Hopefully on Monday I can get them meat again. Sofi and Robbie had some left over curried goat and some turkey, which is also what I had over rice with spinach. Delicious. Now, I have the evening to relax, crochet and knit and maybe make one batch of hemp soap. Life is perfect. I am pleasantly tired and feel wonderful. Sigh. It was a good, no, a great day. I hope yours was too!