It’s gotten cold around here all the sudden. It was 15° when I went out to feed the animals (in the dark) yesterday. Brrrr! We’ve had a pretty easy winter so far, this is the first time we’ve had to break ice in the water buckets.
You always think of water as being important in the summer, but it’s super important for the animals in the winter too. They’re eating hay and grain pellets, which tend to be very low in moisture and dry. What grass they do get is usually also dry and very low in moisture because the ground is hard and frozen. And of course, what’s winter without icy buckets and frozen hoses?
The key is to fill the buckets to the very top in the evening when (hopefully) the hoses are thawed out. Then the top couple inches freezes overnight and you can just break the ice in the morning to let the animals get to the rest of the water underneath. Rather than fuss and fight with the hoses (which also freeze overnight) in the 15° dark at 5 or 6 am. Of course, sometimes you have to break up the ice and then reach in the tank and pull out the giant chunks if it’s really thick. The resulting bone-chilling cold in your fingers gives you an educational prelude to the agonies of arthritis.
And since you feed up first (to save yourself from listening to the animals bawling for food in your ear the whole time) your precious barnyard inhabitants don’t even acknowledge your efforts for their cause. They’re much to busy galloping around playing musical feed-trough and head-butting their neighbors while gobbling up their breakfast to care what agonies you suffer for their well-being.
But that’s probably a good thing because their grain tends to make them a little sneezey and the last thing your poor wet, dusty, hay-speckled flannel pajama pants need at this point is sheep snot smeared across one knee.
And now you know why I’m hooked on coffee in the morning!