Saturday, December 28, 2013

Getting It All Done: Farm Chores--Winter

After taking an extended break from the Getting It All Done series, I thought I'd add a new post.  Farm chores are essential here at Grouse Creek.  Here is how we get them done...

Our Winter Farm Chores:

Feed Sheep Hay
Feed Cows Hay
Feed Calves Hay
Feed Chickens Scraps
Feed Chickens Grain
Water Sheep
Water Cows
Water Calves
Water Chickens
Milk Maggie & Epie
Feed Calves Bottles
Strain Milk into Jars
Clean Barn
Bedding for Animals
Clean Milking Supplies
Gather Eggs
Straw for Chickens
Let Chickens Out in AM and Lock them Up in PM

And occasionally take care of other things that come up like escaped animals or fence mending.  And scraping ice.   

Writing everything down was essential.  Didn't want to forget anything!  But, it looks like a massive list.  So I had to divide it up to make it more managebale for my brain to wrap around at five in the morning. 

Here are our AM Farm Chores, in roughly the order they get done:

Water cows (this time of year using 5 gallon buckets since the hoses freeze pretty solidly.)
Milk Maggie
Milk Epie
Feed calves milk & rinse bottles
Strain milk into jars & get equipment soaking
Clean barn
Give animals hay
Check on bedding
Let chickens out and check straw, water and feed (large containers don't need done every day...)
Give chickens previous day's scraps
Wash milk supplies

Jayme and I handle these most days.  Two days a week she gets to sleep in and I get them all done.  By myself it takes approximately 45 minutes on most days.  More if there's a lot of ice and it's cold.  Less in the summer.  When Jayme helps, it takes about 30 minutes or so. 

When Jayme helps me, she takes over the hay and straw while I milk Maggie.  She then helps milk Epie and feeds the baby calves.  On her way in, she lets out the chickens. 

At night, I have more help.  Jeffrey, Ellie and Sydney love going to chore.  In the summer, everyone comes along.  With the weather this cold, Jayme is now staying in the house with Owen and Simon.  They don't do well in the cold. 

Here are our evening chores;

Water cows & calves
Sled hay over to the sheep (We put hay on the sled, the three kids jump on, and I pull them across the road!)  This task isn't as much fun in the spring and fall without snow. 
Check sheep water (they don't drink it very quickly)
Sled back home and Count Chickens (Should have 18)
Gather eggs and lock up chickens
Feed calves and cows hay

It typically takes 15 minutes.  Jeffrey gathers the eggs.  Ellie and Jeffrey feed hay to the calves.  Sydney pets the animals.  :)

That's how we handle farm chores. This time of year they aren't too bad, especially now that milking only occurs in the morning.   (Since we were all sick over Christmas, we stopped milking Epie at night as well.)

Having kids help makes the chores go more quickly and be more enjoyable!

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