Here is what is on our December to do list:
1. Begin prepping boxes, making repairs and checking water lines in the beds that are not being use for fall and winter crops. If you need to amend your soil, this is a good time of year to do so and then let the soil rest over the next few months.
2. Green houses should be checked frequently to make sure they are sealed well against inclement weather. We recently had an incident with compromised seals allowing enough cold air into the northern facing portion of the green house to wipe out our winter basil supply as well as some ornamental plants. The take-away here is never take anything for granted and check it frequently.
1. Put heat lamps in your chicken coops and make sure they are maintained in good working order to keep your feathered friends in warm comfort. Some chickens have the poor misfortune of molting in the fall months and for those molting hens, some additional heat and comfort will be much appreciated.
2 If you live in a particularly cold climate, you may struggle with having to collect eggs multiple times a day to prevent your eggs from freezing. A solution that we have found works well in colder climates is to put seedling warming pads at the very bottom of your nesting boxes. Be sure to cover them well with pine shavings or other nesting box fill to make sure the hens don't sit directly on the pads.
3. A suet block added to your chicken coop provides a nice treat and added fats and proteins to provide extra energy during colder months. This will not only help prevent your hens from losing weight, but will also provide for beautifully rich and deep egg yolks as well as providing them with some additional activities while penned up inside the coop.
4. Make sure to keep a good supply of protein rich feed on supply. An extra stash of hay thrown onto the floor of the coop provides a nice alternative to summer grasses for them to happily scratch around in.
1. Reduce the amount of grain fed to does 4 months after breeding.
2. If you have any does that are of breeding weight that still haven't been bred, you are running out of time as most does will no longer go into heat after December. An alternative is to allow your doe to run freely in a pen with a buck to encourage her to go into heat and get bred in a timely fashion.
3. Check your inventory of kidding supplies.
4. Check and trim hooves. If your goats are spending more time on soft bedding than out in the pasture, their hooves will be growing more quickly.
5. Do not feed any discarded live Christmas garland, trees, etc. to goats. Many of these have been treated with chemicals and are unsuitable for consumption.