Since wintertime's just around the corner, and you're living off the grid with livestock, you'll have to find a way to keep your animals warm throughout the coldest period of the year. Now, if you've got a wood stove or a propane heat source, being without electricity isn't that big of a deal. However, what if you're out of these elements, too? No need to panic. In the article you're about to read, we will show you some essential tips on how to warm livestock without electricity. We'll also discuss keeping your animals comfy even without other heating sources. So, shall we begin this journey? Here's what you'll have to do!
#1 Boost your animals' protein intake
The more protein your trusty animals get, the more body warmth they'll generate. Therefore, boost your farm animals' protein intake. For ruminants and other herbivores (primarily cattle, sheep, or goats), you can do this by way of grain. More precisely, by upgrading to a higher-percentage grain, boosting the amount of grain, or simply adding kelp top-dressing (or other supplements). What about omnivorous animals such as pigs or poultry? Don't worry! They'll obtain protein through meat fats.
#2 Enable your animals to live communally
Another thing you can do to warm livestock without electricity during the coldest season is to allow the animals to live communally. You'll enable them to form a group for warmth. They can snuggle into the hay or move very close next to each other, thus creating and retaining body heat. However, animals within a single herd sometimes have to be separated because of management-related motives. Even in that case, every one of your livestock will need at least one or two roommates during the nastiest season of the year.
#3 Supply your animals with lots & lots of (dry) bedding
Livestock bedding usually consists of sawdust, hay, or wood shavings. And you'll need lots of it. Also, you'll need to make sure that the bedding is dry. You can ensure that by replacing it every couple of days or more often if young or newborns are present. Of course, you'll need to prioritize the youngest, newly-born livestock since they're quite sensitive and vulnerable to frostbite from the amniotic fluid. Especially if they haven't dried off in the quickest manner possible.
#4 Take mud into consideration
Let's talk a little about everyone's favorite subject – mud. While mud's acceptable for livestock during the hottest season of the year because of its cooling properties, it's obviously not the best solution for the winter months. Here's the thing: your livestock will waste more energy walking in mud, and mud will also damage their winter coat's insulating attributes. In order to warm your farm livestock during the winter, ensure that the levels of mud at your property are at a minimum. Also, move the feeding area around regularly since livestock standing in mud all the time will develop foot rot or thrush. Not to mention that parasites can attack your animals through the mud, making them sick.
#5 Choose breeds that are more adaptable to your climate
Of course, certain breeds of livestock are naturally more inclined to endure extreme winter temperatures. Farm animals with thicker coats or other cold-weather-influenced traits are less likely to suffer from harsh temperatures. However, one shouldn't only consider the physical properties. You'll also need to think about where a particular breed originated from. Did it come from the desert or, perhaps, from the tundra? And here's another thing you'll have to consider: the animal's size. Generally, bigger animals do a better job at tolerating cold weather than their smaller buddies. That's because of the skin surface-to-body mass ratio.
#6 Allow your animals to follow their own instincts
Farm animals know what suits them best by nature. Therefore, they'll seek warmer spots on colder days. The only thing you have to do is to make their shelter in a certain way so it has areas where direct sunlight can reach it, tell us the experts at consumeropinion.org. They're quite dedicated to simple solutions, and this one's no exception. Also, you'll need to guarantee that the place is free from drafts. All in all: our farm buddies need natural hot spots to enjoy on a cold winter day.
#7 Schedule grooming and treatments with some care
To phrase it differently, you'll want to skip shearing and trimming your farm animals' coats once winter approaches. It might be a good idea to cut down on shots, hoof-trimming, and other related actions in winter as much as possible. That's because anything that will cause your farm animals to endure stress can feed upon the energy they use to stay warm and healthy. It would be best if you do these activities in late fall or early spring for the best results.
#8 Build an adequate shelter for your farm buddies
Last but not least, let's consider the construction of a shelter such as a barn or a shed. The shelter where your farm animals will reside has to be solid enough to keep wind and snow out. Still, it will need to have some ventilation system to avoid moisture buildup and everything bad that comes with it by letting the air freely circulate. And speaking of housing, here are some neat alternative housing ideas for you!
Final words on the subject of keeping your livestock warm without electricity
These were some of the essential tips to warm livestock without electricity. There's still much you'll have to learn along the way. However, following these tips will ensure an excellent start for yourself and your farm animals. Lastly, let's just say that we all know that living off the grid is the future, so why should we practice fully relying on electricity anymore? As you could've read, livestock can handle harsh winter weather without it. If they can do it, so can we!