Today was a day all about preparation. I found myself with a rare day home alone with not much else to do, so I thought to myself what can I do to help myself out in the future? I decided that I could do several things to get ahead for the upcoming cold weather and more excitingly spring!
We had a warm reprieve from the sub zero temperatures yesterday, where it reached almost 50 degrees F. This meant all of our snow melted and made the pastures a wet,soggy mess. However, this also meant that things that were frozen would no longer be, so I took advantage and set out on my first adventure to clean the chicken coop. We keep ducks in the same coop as our chickens, and they tend to make things moist. One of the worst things for chickens is to be moist on a very cold day. This can perpetuate diseases, frost bite and other things that can cause harm to the chickens. I was able to completely strip and rebed the coop and nesting boxes with fresh dry pine shavings. The hens were very exited about this as they have recently started laying again after molting about a month ago. They were happily clucking, pecking and scratching at the new shavings.This will help to keep the coop draft free and dry during the next cold spell.
Once I completed my chicken coop cleaning, I decided to work on the horse area. I cleaned and filled my field waters to ensure the horses had adequate drinking water while turned out. Then I checked my water heaters for the chicken coop and the field to ensure there was not any damage and to make sure they were safe and operational for the next arctic blast. I also took advantage of the unfrozen ground, cleaning out my run-in shed. I also took the horses a bale of hay to nibble on in the shed while they are turned out for the day.
After I completed this I was thinking about the goats! I know this is surprising! I came inside and went through my goat medical kit and kidding kit to make sure I had everything in stock for any emergency and kidding situation that I could foresee. I decided I needed to order, mastitis treatment, mastitis tests, udder wipes and fight bac. All to prepare for impending kidding and milking season. This got me thinking about cheese making, so I reviewed my supplies and placed an order with New England Cheese Making supply. This order included, cheese salt, rennent, calcium chloride, various starters and mini measuring spoons for cheese making. I recently took Penn State's Cheese making course and I am anxiously awaiting my milk supply to make cheese & yogurt! I am torn, what kind of cheese should I make first? Let me know in the comments below! I finished up the day by making homemade broccoli cheddar soup and finishing the bio-security section of Langston University's certified dairy goat producer course. Can you tell I am excited for spring?!