Monday, February 22, 2016

Preparing for the Storm

As a homestead farm, we live our lives tied to the weather. Any hint of inclement change tends to stir a fever in our souls to gather and prepare. Me, I am driven to prepare for the worst and hope for the best- with my animals and my crops it rings even more true. 
Living in a state where all four seasons can happen in any given day has taught me to be ready for anything. Today's humid heat can give way to tonight's hard freeze- keeping things healthy can be tricky. We have does ready to kid, baby chicks to keep warm and dry, as well as three gardens, the donkey, buck, barn cats and a dog. In an inclement situation we assess what the greatest need is and work from there. 

Adult birds should be fine in their coop as long as food and water will be available to them. If the day is a dark one, supplemental light will help. Baby chicks that are not fully feathered have to be kept dry. Since they are unable to maintain their heat, lamps, bedding, and shelter are vital. My preparedness tip- be ready with an indoor warming box, towels, and a low heat hair dryer in case of emergency. 
Goats are fairly hearty and adapt well- our bucks and mature does have shelter, feed, water and raised areas for resting off the ground (old pallets work well for this). Does that have been bred need a bit more mothering; they have a heat lamp available and are checked regularly if their kidding is near. Many a birthing season has been kick-started by a good storm! My preparedness tip- have the birthing kit ready, towels, warming box, and a fresh stall that is reserved only for the new mama and baby. 

The rest are content with simple shelters to get away from the rain. Doc often refuses shelter no matter what- I guess it's a donkey thing. Ben will shelter with the barn cats in the hay and feed area. As for the gardens, raised beds have helped quite a bit with flooding issues. I do keep frost cloth on hand as well as some simple hoop frames to drape it over. 

Last but not least, have a way to stay warm and dry yourself. I keep candles, lanterns and firewood along with plenty of blankets and towels. If the risk could mean long term outages I wash up clothes, dishes, and try to cook a few meals that will last and eat well cold if we need them. 

Here on my homestead, we have learned to be prepared for any animal to end up in the house, or under a lamp, or wrapped in a blanket- or even tucked in your overall pockets. 

For more information about storm preparedness, consider reading:

And...share your storm prep info!

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