We are in the middle of an Arctic freeze here is the sunny south. It has been a long time since I remember the weather getting and staying this cold for so many days in a row. The last 4 days our temps have averaged in the low teens and mid thirties, and are to be the norm for the next week. I know that this is nothing for those folks out west and up north, but for us poor pilgrims here on the farm, it has created a whole new ballgame in the barnyard! A day or two of frozen water is not fun but do-able, 10+ days are an absolute pain. To top it all off I have had a stomach flu and have been about useless. My husband has been a champ though and spent the better part of the last three days making it a bit easier.
The first day was spent dragging hundreds of feet of hose from the one unfrozen spigot to water buckets in all the pastures. Knowing that these would be frozen solid by the next day he filled 500 gallon tubs and rigged them with a heater to keep the water thawed so we can dip out water for the smaller animals to reach and to haul to the chickens and rabbits. The next day the one unfrozen spigot was, of course, frozen, so he rerouted some pipes to our tack room where it is insulated and where we have power and attached heat stripping to it so it will stayed thawed. With the exception of dipping and hauling a few 5 gallon buckets here and there the water situation seems to be resolved.
The first day 8 bales of hay went out and it lasted only hours. It is so cold the critters just stand and eat to keep warm. Deciding that our hay would not last the next few months feeding like this we decided to purchase some round bales. We bought 4 to see how it will go. That just leaves us feeding 2-3 bales to the smaller animals. We planned for the hay to last until May when we cut. The cold weather is putting a huge burden on our supply. Thank goodness it was a good hay year and there is some around to purchase. Even when planning and allowing 2 or so extra bales a day, we will surely run out.
I am considering this practice for when we relocate to Virginia where the wind chill was 10 below this weekend and it was snowing, again!