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Thread: farming and ranching in the winter months

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Default farming and ranching in the winter months

    For those of you who raise livestock, chickens, cows, rabbits whatever... you probably are questioning your sanity right about now. I know I am, we spend all year preparing for just a few months of winter. When it arrives and the grass is no longer growing, the water is not flowing, and the wind is cutting like a knife, we have to kick into overdrive. The days are shorter, so we have to work harder to get everything done that needs to be done. Our livestock is totally dependant on us for their survival, their natural foraging is gone, water sources frozen, and the weather in a lot of places is deadly.

    We're either trampling through mud or chipping away ice, thawing water and rationing out feed and hay a couple times a day, the whole time wondering if we're doing enough to keep them somewhat comfortable. Sometimes I question if it's even worth it, then I have a nice omelet with veggies, cheese, and meat. Yes it's worth the extra clothes washing, more mud and dirt in the house, the aching fingers, and the snotcicles, because it'll be over soon and the trees will be beautiful, babies will be born and those damn animals will still be providing for me and mine.
    Don't bring skittles to a gun fight.

  2. #2
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    Living and ranching in South Texas probably does not qualify as winter. Several years ago we had a prolonged freeze like three days, and had to keep troughs so primarily deer could drink in pens. Water holes(tajos), and tanks in ground were fine. I did work a ranch part of a winter in Montana and then North Kansas and main job was feeding and breaking ice in troughs. I learned that toting three string bales of hay through knee deep snow sucked and so learned that snow sucked. Water was relatively easy but had to make runs morning and evening with tractor bucket to break ice.
    Once on safari in deepest darkest Afganistan we ran out of Gin, and were compelled to survive on food and water for several days.


    I typically carry a flask of vodka for snakebites. I also carry a small snake.- W. C. Fields

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Um ... excuse me... Can someone notify Mother Nature and inform her it ISN'T supposed to be 20 degrees in Texas!! EVER!! Lol
    "The First Gay President", L'dMAO!! "Peace can ONLY be achieved through SUPERIOR FIREPOWER, STOMPING LIBS and CARPETBOMBING"!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Gotta love this global warming. I just helped my buddy Alvy feed his cattle and chop ice. It was froze over again in 20 minutes.

  5. #5
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    Animals are tough, but it's going to be dropping into the single digits here for a couple of days. I'm not and probably some of the animals either are ready for it. I'm going out shortly to prepare some wind breaks and then all I can do is hope for the best.
    Don't bring skittles to a gun fight.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2007
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    My rain barrels are frozen solid, or appear to be at least, never seen that much water freeze that fast, and it's gonna be in the teens here tonight. Glad I dumped 10 gallons each yesterday to account for expansion or it woulda been an issue.
    Common sense is so uncommon nowadays it ought to be reclassified as a super power

  7. #7
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    Aug 2010
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    I've heard about this, but I've never actually seen one of them other than on the internet. How many of you have actually tried something like this? Compost heating system that you can transfer the heat through Water Systems to heat greenhouses or other areas.
    https://www.google.com/amp/www.instr...famp_page=true
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
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    I could see where compost piled up next to a trough might help some, and maybe keep pipes flowing. Then again, if you go there, you might just use the waste to generate methane and warm that way.

    Bubblers are supposed to help retard icing of troughs but my deer pens are about a mile from electricity and solar would not help much. It's been mostly cloudy for a week now, so any solar setup would be running low on charging. I have solar charged remote cameras set up that are getting low on power.
    Once on safari in deepest darkest Afganistan we ran out of Gin, and were compelled to survive on food and water for several days.


    I typically carry a flask of vodka for snakebites. I also carry a small snake.- W. C. Fields

  9. #9
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    Compost requires maintenance to keep it "cooking" I've got too much to deal with already.
    Don't bring skittles to a gun fight.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Somewhere in corn country
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    Not that I have a ranch or critters running around, and this probably doesn't compare to some folks on the site located in ID, MT, AK, but it hasn't been above freezing here since Christmas Eve and the night time temps have been in the single digits. Factoring in the wind chill, it's been in the negatives at night most of these days. Wind breaks, temp shelters, and/or extra bedding should all be considered in addition to the food and water issues. Best of luck to you all in this situation.
    Hannibal ad portas

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