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Fall is here and it is time to start new projects to prepare for winter. Here are some tips to help you get started on your homestead preparations.
Winter prep tips for homesteaders
We live at 5600 feet above sea level so it can snow anytime. Winter can become more enjoyable if you are prepared. Here are a few tips.
Water can be a big issue in the winter time. Last fall we installed heated automatic watering troughs. What a difference this made for me and the time it takes me to do chores. (It also helped cut down chore time in the summer)
In previous winters hoses were used to fill our heated water troughs. After filling the water trough the hoses had to be drained. This chore had to be done almost daily depending on how many animals we were watering out of one watering trough. Maybe these tips will help you become a little more prepared for winter.
- Drain all hoses even if you are not using them. If the hose you are using happens to freeze you still have a hose to use in place of the frozen hose.
- Drain hoses in case you have a fire. This way you have something to use and are not frustrated with frozen hoses.
- Install your tank heaters. Nothing is worse than trying to install a heater in a tank that has already started to freeze. We like to use the tank plug heaters that fit in the bottom of the tank. When purchasing a stock tank make sure there is a drain plug. This is where a drain plug heater can be inserted at the side of the bottom in the tank. There are also floating tank heaters you can use but we found the animals like to play with them and feel they are dangerous.
- There are other methods in keeping your tank ice-free such as burying a pipe to bring warm air out of the ground to the bottom of your tank. At our elevation, these ideas are not effective for us.
- Simplify your watering by combining animals into the same pen when possible.
- Run any extension cords you may need to plug-in heaters, ensuring they are out of reach from your animals. You know how curious they can be and enjoy chewing on everything.
- Summertime can be really busy and sometimes things can be left out-of-place. We like to make sure buckets, boards, twine, and other things are cleaned up before they are buried by snow. This is important for safety reasons. Tripping and sliding on these items can be dangerous when they can’t be seen. Besides, it keeps your homestead looking neat and tidy.
- Clean corrals and barns before the cold sets in and creates an icy mess. This makes it easier to maintain throughout the fall and the winter.
- Chicken coops are important to clean in the fall also. Prepare the pens with heaters for your trough and whatever else may be needed to get them through the winter months.
- I prepare my goats for winter by trimming hooves. I find this keeps the hooves healthy and the snow from building up and sticking in their feet.
- After we have had a hard frost I worm all of my animals. I feel parasites have somewhat been killed off by the frost. Hopefully, they won’t infest my animals again.
- Now is the time to repair any leaky sheds. There is nothing worse than trying to fix a roof when it is leaking in the winter time. Not only is it cold, but it is wet and icy and could be dangerous.
- Fix your fences now before your ground freezes and you can no longer pound a new post into the ground or dig a hole.
- Put up snow fences to keep the snow from drifting in your corrals. There have been years the snow has drifted through our wind break of trees and covered my fences. My pony and goats thought they could go in and out as they pleased. Although they were safe I really didn’t like to be greeted on my front porch at feeding time.
In order to enjoy winter, a little fall preparation can help. I hope these tips help. Feel free to share with a friend. What are some things you do to prepare for winter?