We got socked by a winter storm here over the past week here in Northwest Arkansas. A wintry storm early Monday through Tuesday dropped a quarter inch of freezing rain, nearly an inch of sleet and then another 4-5 inches of snow. The temperature plunged into record cold, with night time temps plunging to around -10 F and daytime temps not getting out of the single digits - crazy when you consider that we were near 70 F over the weekend! Temps haven't been above freezing for quite some time now, but everyone's doing pretty well.
We're down to just one goat, Billy. The dairy does we were boarding were picked up in mid-Jan before we headed off to SSAWG. Billy's been mourning the loss of his lovely dairy doe ladies, refusing to eat and just generally bumming around. The cold weather snapped him out of it. I was pretty worried the first night of the storm...the freezing rain had coated him really well and so I brought him some crabgrass hay. (Some how in goat reasoning cedars are better shelter than a roof in freezing rain!) A full rumen is a warm rumen, and that seemed to do the trick. He's holed up in the cedar thicket above, and what he didn't eat he made a nest out of to keep him warm. With a full belly, he dried out quickly thanks to the warmth of rumenating.
The Great Pyrenees down in the bottom pasture haven't been phased in the slightest. Their thick coats are still coated in ice from the freezing rain several days back. Fredo and Alfredo's coat is so thick that the dogs' body heat is kept in tight enough to keep the ice from thawing. When it was below 0 F on morning, I caught the big male rolling around in the snow trying to scratch his back, grunting in relief when he hit those hard to reach spots.
The laying flock in the sacrifice paddock have weathered through the cold rather well. Chickens don't like snow very well, and the bottom of the coop started to get pretty crowded as no one wanted to go outside. The lowest members of the pecking order started to get knocked around a good bit, so we filled the bottom of the coop with lots of seedy hay as well. Scratching through the hay keeps the hens busy looking for seeds and their feet stay dry and off the snow. The biggest problem we've had is that the eggs have been freezing before we can get to them. Until the weather warms up a bit, we're just boiling the eggs and feeding them to the pullet hens we're raising.
We got another 3 or so inches today, and another storm is supposed to hit us the beginning of next week...