Keep Your Ranch Animals Healthy and Comfortable This Winter
The right products will ease the chore of tending animals at the ranch or homestead.
On a farm or ranch, prepping for winter can be a daunting task. With a focus on keeping your animals comfortable despite the conditions, you can take a lot of the stress out of the process by purchasing high-quality products that will perform well in even the coldest temperatures. Murdoch’s teamed up with Chelsea Harmer (@parallel45farm) to provide all the information needed to help your ranch animals through the winter.
As you begin to prepare for the winter, keep in mind the types of animals you are caring for and the individual needs of those animals.
One of the most essential items you will need for all outdoor animals, regardless of the species or size, is a clean, heated water source that will not freeze in cold temperatures.
Water for Livestock
Smaller livestock such as goats, pigs, and sheep will do well with a heated water bucket or water bowl. Larger livestock such as horses and cattle are typically better off with their regular water trough that has a deicer to keep the water available and ice-free. Large livestock animals consume 30-50 gallons of water per day, so make sure to get a deicer that is rated for the number of gallons your tank can hold.
* Pro-tip: When it snows, fill the heated water buckets with snow rather than lugging out buckets of water. A well-heated bucket will quickly melt the snow.
Water for Poultry
Heated poultry waterers are a must-have for your flock. If you prefer a more traditional-looking waterer, this is a great option: Little Giant – 3 Gallon Heated Poultry Waterer.
Here’s a great option that is less traditional. It has a sensor that kicks on when the temperature drops to freezing! Farm Innovators – Heated Poultry Drinker – 2 Gallon
The freeze-free nipple keeps debris from entering the water source. If you’ve never used a nipple waterer for your poultry before, you will need to show them how to use it by tapping the metal pieces to allow water to flow out.
Nutrition for Poultry
Winter can also impact the diet of poultry, so supplements, like oyster shell, may be needed. Chickens that are free-range in the summer do not need supplements because they get natural minerals by foraging. In the winter foraging can become more difficult, resulting in a mineral deficiency. Supplementing your chickens’ diet with oyster shell will help keep them healthy and their eggshells solid. You can offer the oyster shell-free choice to your hens, or even mix it into their feed.
Heat Lamps for PoultryThere are varied mindsets regarding whether chickens need supplemental heat in the winter. If you would like to provide additional heat, you can use a traditional heat lamp. (Red bulbs are recommended so as not to upset the chickens’ sleep cycle). However, heat bulbs can be a potential fire hazard depending on the materials in your coop. If you are concerned about this, then a great alternative is the use of heat panels: Cozy Products – Cozy Coop Safe Chicken Coop Heater 200W.
Horses and cows are naturally able to regulate their body temperature just fine without additional care. However, a senior horse may need a bit of help with a <warm blanket.
Senior horses can also be known to drop weight during the winter. A great way to help them maintain a healthy body weight and get the extra vitamins and minerals they need is by providing them with a supplement: Farnam – Weight Builder
You can mix this supplement with their favorite grain. We recommend Triple Crown Senior Formula.
Of the many ways you can provide comfort to your farm animals during the winter months, the best support is having the right products!