Our January List:
- Time to think about your spring garden and in more temperate areas in North America you will have an opportunity to start your second season of cool weather crops. If you are going to be growing your plants from seed, you will need to begin procuring your seeds now and getting them into your starter pots. When you order seeds for your garden, be sure to think about crops for your livestock will enjoy as well. Include carrots, kale, chard, collards and comfrey roots for your goats. Chickens adore carrot peels - be sure to use all parts of the plant. For more information on starting your plants and then transplanting into your garden, check our our gardening section.
- Depending upon what kind of animals you are keeping, babies will begin to arrive soon. With that in mind you will want to think through not only what needs to be maintained now, but what supplies you will need on hand for your new arrivals.
- Be sure to watch roofs of barns, coops and other structures for leaks or signs of stress under snow build-up or increased rainfall.
- Make sure waterers and their pipes are well insulated. When in doubt, it's always easiest to drain a line before a freeze as opposed to digging up broken pipes and making repairs.
- Be sure to have plenty of heat lamps in your inventory. Use them in your chicken coop to keep your flock warm, your goat kids will appreciate the extra warmth on cold, blustery days and nights, and if you are allowing your flocks to breed, you will need heat lamps in the not too distant future for your chicks.
- When the weather is inclement, take advantage of your downtime to set up your record keeping for the new year. Everyone has different needs for the information, so it is good to prepare early to decide what information will be important to you in the coming year. Basic data should include production and health records, dates of worming, vaccinations, and products used. We recommend always recording expenses. Knowing what your milk or egg production costs is a great incentive and tool to improve your management. Record birth dates, weights and any other pertinent information.We like to weigh our kids once a week for the first few months of their lives and once a month until they are of breeding age. If you raise registered animals, be sure you have the service memorandum and you may wish to photograph and record the sire and dam information. This information is easy to forget but can be very useful if you need to sell the kids or want to document your herd.
We wish you a happy 2012 and hope you have a joyful and productive year with your garden and animals!