Thursday, November 8, 2012

Building Unity Farm - Preparing for Winter

This week we've had our first hard freeze in Massachusetts - 22 degree temperatures last night.   How have we prepared the farm for winter?

1.  All outside water supplies are off and drained.   A yard hydrant provides water inside the barn and since its water supply is 4 feet below ground, deeper than the frost line, it does not freeze.

2.  All barn doors and windows are closed to minimize wind inside.  Extra straw provides a layer of insulation.   The animals are fully fleeced.   Llama/Alpaca and Great Pyrenees Mountain dogs enjoy the cold weather - it's the wind and the rain that is problematic.   The barn protects them.

3.  All our over wintering raised bed plants (such as garlic and various herbs) have been protected under salt marsh hay or moved indoors.

4. We use heated buckets to keep water from freezing in the barn.   We use a thermostatically controlled chicken waterer base to keep the coop water from freezing.

5. Although the coop keeps the chickens out of the wind and rain, we need to protect their sensitive combs and waddles.   We put 150 watt heater panels near their nightly roosting area and near their daily eating area.   They can always seek a warm up when the temperature plummets.

One issue we're still addressing - what to do if power fails.   We are currently installing a propane fueled generator to ensure our animals have heat, light and water even if falling trees or severe winds bring down power lines.    During Hurricane Sandy we lost power for 7 hours.  We stored a few days of water in the barn just in case, but did not need them.

We have enough food stored in our barn loft to last until Spring for all the animals.

The first hard freeze went well.   I think we're ready for our first winter on Unity Farm.

1 comment: said...

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