We got above the freezing mark yesterday! It was a balmy 50+ degrees but the wind was gusting between 30 and 50 mph all day. The howling was really starting to get on my nerves so I did something I rarely do in the daytime- I've turned on the tv. Sometimes the wind was still louder but it wasn't a constant barrage on my ears anymore. The only thing worse than listening to it inside was working in it outside! It was a hold-on-to-your-hats kind of chore day!
I knew it was going to be blustery when I first woke up. I could already hear it that early. So I tried to wait it out before I headed out to feed and water the critters. But wait! Don't I have to take care of all that at the first crack of daylight?? Not exactly. I LIKE to get it all done first thing. I insist on getting it done as early as possible. That's just common sense- taking care of your animals before yourself. But everything is set up so the animals won't suffer if conditions don't allow that. That is one of the great things about living on a small property and not working off of it. Of course my critters need daily food and water. I make sure they get fresh supplies every day. But I can also provide enough to make sure they are well supplied until the best time of day to do so. The only time I have to rush - in the winter time- is when I have appointments or errands in town.
The hay eaters, goats and rabbits, are given enough hay to last 2-3 days at a time. Since I top it off daily, they are well supplied with hay. They get pellets as a supplement but it's not their main meal so there is no rush to fill their bellies with it. It's a treat they look forward to and I take it out when the weather is at the optimal point for the day. The barn cats hunt all day long and come running for their daily cat food as soon as they hear the back door open. The poultry feeder will hold a weeks worth of food at a time but I keep the level at two days worth.
All the water buckets, bottles and poultry founts are heated and they all hold enough for 2 days. I fill them up every day and make sure none have failed, but I don't have to do it first thing in the morning. I know they have enough and it is still good quality.
There are some challenges during times of bad weather, also. Ever tried to scoop up frozen wasted hay? We use the deep litter method in the chicken coop and the goat sheds get a manure pack but the rabbit cages are a different ballgame. The potty corners still have to be cleaned and underneath cleaned out. Every time there is a break in the cold, there is also a rush to get that done. And we take advantage of that time to scrub out the water buckets and bottles. Unlike the summertime when we're just mindful of rain, the winter temps can play havoc with our calendar. If there isn't a break, since we are small scale, it still has to be done. But usually Indiana weather fluctuates enough to make it easy to find a good day once or twice a month for those chores.