Rain today, snow tomorrow. Such is life in the Midwest for you. This week the forecast has it all, and we are busy getting the farm ready for the season change.
The temperatures are quickly dropping to the low 30s, upper 20s. These temperatures, in combination with the rain, could spell disaster for our young birds, which is exactly why we need to pay a little extra attention to them. When this type of weather hits, we will put straw in the corners and shelters to protect the birds from the elements. We also spread a little cracked corn around on the ground to help give the birds more energy during the cooler temperatures.
The rain also slows down our shipping processes. Mature birds do not drive as well when they are wet and we have to take every precaution we can to avoid the birds getting muddy. To do this we must take the time to straw the driving lanes as well as the catch areas.
The cold temperatures force us to change watering patterns as well. Once it freezes our water system no longer works, and we must water the birds with a tractor and water tank in pans. At night, when the water freezes, we dump out the ice and do it again. After it snows, the pheasants will eat the snow and no longer need to be watered.
We are just as busy prepping the actual farm itself as we are taking care of the birds. First things first, we have to get back into the habit of plugging in all of the equipment to ensure they start the following day, and/or storing them indoors for the night. We also need to get out and put blocks under all of our prop posts for the pens before the ground freezes and they freeze into the ground for the winter.
In years past, heavy snowfalls have been quite disastrous to our farm. Some of the earlier blog posts talked about them, if you’d like, go back and check them out. Now we keep a very close eye on the weather, and if forecasters are predicting heavy snow or freezing rain, we take down all of the prop posts as a precaution. If left up, this can cause our netting to rip.
As far as sales go, the cold weather does not cause a negative impact until we start getting into the single digits. These cooler temperatures are typically ideal for hunters, so we are still quite busy shipping mature birds!
Since I don’t have my degree in meteorology, I rely heavily on my managers to keep an eye on the weather, and a pulse on the farm! We are continuously working to prevent Mother Nature from taking us by “storm”.