Brutal Cold Weather Hard on Barn Animals

The weather here in Santa Fe has been brutal, no make that VICIOUS with it’s extreme cold weather this last few days. We’ve had -10 to -15 ° F weather here at night with the daytime temperatures only getting between 6° to 10° F  for 4 days and that doesn’t include the wind chill. Coldest weather in decades.

My poor barn animals have not been happy. There is little way for them to recover from the cold nights with the equally cold daytime temperatures. We’ve definitely been in a survival mode here at the little farm.

My Belgium Golden Campine, 'Chimay'

I lost one chicken to the cold even with my heat lamps on inside their coop.  It was a Belgium Golden Campine, named ‘Chimay’-I will miss her and her little chirps. She never did very well with cold weather much less this extreme cold. The chicken water heater wasn’t working very well so I took them hot water to melt it yesterday. I have another new water heater for them that I took down today and installed it.

The goats have a big water trough outside in the corral that is heated (and working) and I have a little heated bucket inside in their stall at night. The heated bucket  decided not to work and when I went down yesterday morning at -15°, it was frozen solid so I brought it up to the house to thaw and it evidently had cracked but I couldn’t see it through the ice. So it leaked all the water all over the living room yesterday after it melted while I was at work. Great.. I finally found a feed store with only 2 heated buckets left and got one of them.  All the other feed stores were sold out. Phew!

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I’ve been making both the goats and chickens oatmeal (with raisins!) everyday and they have enjoyed a hot meal. I give little blobs of peanut butter (high energy food) on a popsicle stick to my goats to help keep their energy going and grain and of course LOTS of hay. The goats are amazingly hardy as their barn is not heated. They have a big stall with about a foot of straw on the floor and yesterday we made smaller areas with straw bales inside the stall for insulation  and protection. They are out of the wind and wet but the temperature is still bad (but suppose to improve). Today the sun is out and no wind and they are out sunning themselves, I’m sure trying to suck up as much heat as they can get from the sun. Ahh. Life on a mini farm.. Finally it is starting to warm up 34° high/14° F low tomorrow-if you can call that warm..

Well, one good thing-Phil didn’t see his shadow so hopefully we will have an early Spring.

2 comments on “Brutal Cold Weather Hard on Barn Animals

  1. groovyoldlady says:

    We’re having a bitter spell here in Maine right now. I was looking up goat care for the cold and found your blog entry. So sorry about the loss of your hen! I have 2 pregnant does in a small, unheated barn. They love a fresh bucket of hot water! And I love your idea of oatmeal and PB to keep their energy up. It’s time to do the chores now, so maybe I’ll make some for them before I go out!


    • I also have an unheated barn. Do you have a heated bucket for water for them? I’ve had one hooked up with an extension cord for years and it saves lots of time and always insures they have some drinkable water and best the buckets only go on when needed to keep it above freezing.


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