This month we’ve decided to give you an inside look at our little hobby farm, the animals and how we manage the farm during our Manitoba winter months. Every farmer spends most of the summer preparing for the dreaded long winter, making sure you have enough hay, that the fencing is safe and secure and to ensure the run in the sheds are prepared for the wintery blast.
The last few winters, the weather has been particularly pleasant for the most part, with the exception of a few very cold days, during which time special care is provided for the animals with extra grain rations and bedding.
The morning feed for the sheep starts whenever the sun rises, sometimes I think their routine reflects our routine. They literally only exit their sleeping quarters at approximately 8:00 a.m. How perfect for us! They understand the value of morning coffee!
They wait for us to open their fence, we do lock them up as we are surrounded by neighbourhood dogs, plus coyotes. Once we release them, they are off for their breakfast of mixed grains, lentils and chickpeas. Sheep by nature are followers and they love routine.
Maverick our future guard dog is much to young to protect his herd, but he definitely thinks he is part of the group!
The hay bale gets placed in a pen, we hand fork it to the edge, the sheep then eat the hay through the page wire, this system works great for keeping their feed clean and leaves very little waste. It is a win/win!
Sheep are creatures of habit, they love routine and in winter they always travel in single file. They are easily trained and are highly motivated by grain.
Now for the animals that are near and dear to my heart, in the country during the winter we call them hay burners. Cody and Shadow are our quarter horses and their short sidekick Turbo the pony and Maria the miniature donkey.