Since we have not received any snow yet and we have been blessed with a beautiful warm fall we are quickly completing all of our late fall farm chores as we prepare for winter. There are alot of projects getting done but the biggest ones are always preparing the animals for winter and making sure they will be safe and secure when it gets cold.
All of the birds (meat birds, laying hens and turkeys) are now inside our warm barns where they have natural light with lots of room to move around and express their natural behaviours. Even with the beautiful warm fall days we have been having we cannot have the birds outside in their movable shelters for very long after thanksgiving due to the cold nights that freeze the waterlines in the chicken shelters. We are taking advantage of these snow free days to move the chicken shelters to where in the field we need them to be in the spring.
Our pigs have been moved to their winter area. In the winter our pigs are raised outside in large fenced areas where they have access to straw piles, covered shelters, and frost free water. They are given lots of room to move around and dig in the straw and dirt. We give them things to play with and scratch against to keep them healthy and happy. The pigs have covered feeders that keep their feed dry and clean until the pigs are ready to eat. Like the chickens we are unable to keep them in their moveable shelters in the field due to the water lines freezing.
In the late fall, winter, and early spring our cattle are in a large pasture that we call their winter pasture. Here they have lots of room to roam, windbreaks with straw piles to bed down in and access to a frost-free water trough. In the winter we feed our cattle high quality organic hay. The hay bale is chopped up into smaller pieces and is fluffed using a bale buster, that then deposits the hay into bunk feeders. We use bunk feeders to feed our cattle hay for two main reasons. It reduces wasted hay by preventing the hay from being scattered around by the cattle and it keeps the hay clean by preventing the cattle from depositing manure on it. These feeders are moved around the cattle’s winter pasture throughout the winter in order to spread the manure around the fields.
The sheep are no longer being moved every few days onto new pasture and are now being fed hay in an area we have fenced using electrified netting to keep the coyotes away. They will be moved to their permanent winter area this week where they will have straw, a sheltered area and access to frost free water. We feed them hay using a feeder that prevents them from trampling the hay and keeps it clean.
Part of our philosophy is that animals need to be treated with respect, taken care of and allowed to express their natural behaviours. This is why we are certified humane and certified organic. We work hard to ensure that each animal has everything it needs to be happy and healthy, during the cold Alberta winters or our balmy summers.
- Sunworks Farm