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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are Christmases like for farm, ranch and horse people in the boonies?

Is it all snow-covered and dreamy as in the storybooks?

There seems something so magical to me about a rural Christmas in a thick blanket of white powder.

What did Santa bring you for you and your animals?

Did your animals so kindly get nice clean hay to sleep on for Christmas?

Is your barn nice, warm and cozy for your animals in winter?

Did the horses get special treats?

The dogs?
 

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It's snow covered, and very beautiful, but there's nothing particularly dreamy about chipping horse turds out of ice, or shoveling out gates.

Santa brought my horses a candy cane each in their breakfast mash, and some cabbage. The goats and chickens got cabbage too; it's their first fresh green food in months.

My barn is freezing cold; you don't heat barns. If you have power to your barn (I do), you might have heated water buckets (I do). Maybe a dairy barn full of cows would be warm.

My dogs each got a little dish of strawberry ice cream on Christmas Eve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I figured the body heat of large animals keeps them warm and cozy in the barn. My dogs always had a heat lamp for their cage in my garage.
I think clean hay for bedding makes the livestock comfy. We had pygmy goats and they had hay for bedding in their little house.
I would put straw in the dog house of my Labrador retriever's kennel because they always chewed up any pad for the igloo house.
 

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Farm chores and work don't use a calendar nor know what day it is....
If you have animals...they need daily care and chores need done for those animals.
Seven days a week, there is no vacation, holiday or time off...or the animals suffer.


While snow is beautiful when freshly fallen...it gets dirty in a hurry and makes chores harder to accomplish.
I don't deal with snow anymore...by choice.
What I can tell you is my animals were fed and taken care of before I had breakfast, nor spent time with my family Christmas morn... and again at evening animals first, humans wait their turn!

When the animals are good, we are all good to relax and enjoy the festivities...
:runninghorse2:...
 

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It's snow covered, and very beautiful, but there's nothing particularly dreamy about chipping horse turds out of ice, or shoveling out gates.
THIS ^^^
Snow covered farms are very beautiful for about the length of time it takes you to drive or walk down the driveway. After that, it's numb extremities, wrestling with ice-covered objects of all forms (poop, buckets, gates, doors), and trekking through deep snow to get anywhere.

I unfortunately can't see my horse for Christmas because I'm visiting family 400 miles away right now, but I'll be bringing her back some goodies soon.

I don't think I've ever stepped into any barn or stable in the middle of winter and thought "Wow, this is nice and toasty." The horses are warm enough, of course, but that doesn't mean the stable is warm!
 

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I figured the body heat of large animals keeps them warm and cozy in the barn. My dogs always had a heat lamp for their cage in my garage.
I think clean hay for bedding makes the livestock comfy. We had pygmy goats and they had hay for bedding in their little house.
I would put straw in the dog house of my Labrador retriever's kennel because they always chewed up any pad for the igloo house.
hay is expensive and difficult-to-clean bedding for horses. I use shavings on stall mats. And they don't get clean shavings for Christmas, they get clean shavings twice a day year round.

My goats get the deep-bedding for winter -- just adding more bedding on top instead of cleaning daily to the floor. It is much warmer and more comfortable. Not doable for horses, and they don't need it. Goats get cold much more easily and they sleep at night, which horses don't. So the goats curl up together and stay warm in their predator-proof stall, while the horses wander around pawing through the snow for nibbles. Judging from the shavings in her tail, my horse does take a nap in her stall or maybe just a roll, some time in the night; the pony never.
 

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We live in Florida so our Christmas weather was lovely. My youngest is 17 and my husband is very unwell. No squeals and rushing to stockings any more, but we had a fabulous Christmas this year.

Animal chores are just a part of my life. In fact, when I travel, I feel bereft, not going out to the barn for chores. I've been doing it since I was a child, so that's nothing here in Florida.

My son and I were in two different car wrecks on the same day, so the kids' car and my car were totaled. We were down to sharing the old farm truck. Instead of presents, we got a nice new-to-us Ford Focus to drive.
The best part was that my daughter went riding with me for a lovely trail ride. It was so much fun. And then a happy Christmas dinner with daughter, son and husband. I feel very grateful for what we do have.
 

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I didn’t know that @knightrider and I am sorry.

Here there was snow. Cows are fed in the mornings, and it takes a couple hours this time of year. Kids wait around for dad to get home to open presents, and it is exciting.

I don’t usually go feed cows, so I bundled up and went out to do my chores. I fed the milk cow extra, broke ice and cleaned out her corral. Then I fed horses, and I didn’t do extra because they’ve been getting a bit extra anyways. After I broke ice I walked to the house and asked the girls for a handful of carrots. I took them out and gifted each horse with a scratch and a carrot.

The littlest girl took the chickens some apples as a treat when she did her chores. I let the barn cats have an egg and the bacon grease and fed them a bit more. The dogs and the house cat got an egg too, and the little dogs were given each a stuffed animal they envied from my littlest (her gift, not mine).

When husband made it home we ate breakfast together which needed warmed in the microwave because I guessed incorrectly, but it was lovely.
 

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Haha, as seems to be the theme for those of us with snow, I spent a good part of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day trying to chip half frozen poo out of the paddock to haul it away without sending myself flying across the ice on the way to the poop pile. More to do this afternoon since temps are a little warmer.

But, it was still a beautiful day. The snow is old and ice-crusted right now, but yesterday I went out for a very pretty ride and enjoyed the sights at a beaver pond I've never ridden past before. It was completely still and quiet, even my horse seemed to enjoy admiring the view.


On Christmas morning the horses got some carrots chopped up into their breakfast. They also got spoiled with peppermints and pieces of candy canes. They live outside 24/7 and don't have a barn, but the sun was warm and there was no wind so they were toasty enough they didn't need blankets at all. I did strip the sheds and fill them extra deep with fresh shavings and could tell this morning they had taken nice naps overnight.



Chickens got treated to a warm mash before bed last night- their layer pellets mixed with oatmeal, sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and raisins. They also got some cabbage and kale leaves and apple cores.


Dog and cat got more than their share of leftovers from our dinner.

I think everyone had a nice day, us included. But the chores never went on hold :wink:
 

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We got just enough snow to cover the ground and are getting ready to ride in it shortly! A lot of snow is a pain. A little is nice, and is better than hard, frozen ground since it provides a bit of a cushion for hooves. Unfortunately, the trails are off-limits because of ice patches lurking under the snow in several places. But the paddock will be perfect today and the sun is shining so we are taking advantage of it!

The horses got candy canes and scotch mints which they loved. The barn isn't heated, nor is it shut tight - my horses have 24/7 turnout with access to a large, common stall so it's chilly, but still warmer in there than outside.

But yeah, chipping away at piles of frozen manure isn't much fun.
 

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Horses - A larger than normal serving of peanut hay. New rounds and each a few peppermints. Their favorite is Bob's. As the weather was a sunny 70 the dogs spent more time out than typical since we were all home. As for us - we replaced the floor in one section of the house and installed the washer and dryer that we bought. Stayed far away from the ILs. Snacked all day on pre - prepared sandwich rolls and chips with dips as well as candies the neighbor made. Dinner was left overs - seafood gumbo, pot roast or spaghetti with a variety of sides left.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I was thinking that livestock need special care during the winter because of the coldness if you live up north in snow country.

Naturally, I understand animals need care 365 days a year but the care given might vary by season. In the summer, my former two Labs used to be given
a large kiddie pool of water everyday to help stay cool. They had shade trees in their kennel as well.


At about age 10, I read a Christmas book from the school library. Can't remember the name. It was about a snowy Christmas on a farm in Switzerland. The story included in the lines about how the barnyard animals as cows, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, etc. got fresh clean hay (or straw) to bed down on. Yes, I would think barnyard animals should have clean bedding everyday. In old-fashioned times it might have been common to use hay or straw as bedding. Christmas winter farm stories make me think of Mary's boy child, Jesus Christ, laying in the manger with all the animals and the shepherds and the three wise men.


To me, two large dogs are enough of a chore to keep. In the mid 1970's, we had a family of four pygmy goats. A mama, a daddy and two daughters. We had a ton of chickens, guinea fowl, ducks, geese, pheasants, doves in a small aviary, a few quail, peafowl and rabbits also. Fowl droppings are nasty. Rabbit hutches are a pain to maintain. Waterfowl are messy. These pygmy goats are dirty animals that soil their bedding with crap and pee. I hated having to clean out their smelly goat coop often. They were often bedded with alfalfa or oat hay. Do cows and horse soil their bedding like goats do? Dogs, as a rule, even puppies, hate to soil their bedding.
 

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It's far, far warmer Christmas than we usually get, so rather than a thick blanket of white snow, we had a thick blanket of refrozen, rutted ice and mud and thick fog. Not so scenic, I must say... it was, however, refreshing to go do chores in a light jacket and mud boots rather than insulated bibs, heavy coat, winter boots, and layers of gloves. Our horses live out, so no cozy, snug barn. I did fire up the tractor and scrape the half-thawed poop out of their run-in and put a new layer of cornstalk bedding down so they have a warm, dry place to lie (or poop, more like it...) They have a run-in for shelter, but it's not the snug stable one pictures... but plenty adequate and they are much happier out than in stalls. The horses did get a treat of some apples and carrots and peppermints for Christmas, though. When I left them on Christmas Eve, they were happily eating hay in the fog.

I did chores for another farm while they were gone, and they have a lovely barn. The horses come in at night to thickly bedded stalls (all pine shavings except for one pony who gets straw as pine makes him itchy) , and each occupied stall has a wreath on the front. They had left instructions for the horses to get an extra scoop of alfalfa pellets and carrots on Christmas Eve, plus the barn cats were to get some venison heart and kidney which they'd chopped and readied before they left. The animals there were left happily munching on Christmas Eve, snug in their cheerful barn with plenty of hay to last through the night-- for eating by the horses, and for snuggling in to sleep for the cats. Their barn isn't heated, but it stays comfortably warm when the horses are in. After I turn out in the morning, it's warm enough in the barn to shed coats while picking stalls and refilling hay, even with the doors open. A well-insulated barn stays comfortable in winter with a few animals inside.

It was an English/Irish tradition during Victorian times to sing a Wassail song and toast each of the animals in blessing on Christmas, and spending a few minutes in a barn or with horses and animals on Christmas Eve just seems appropriate :) For those who are Christian, there really is no more peaceful place to think of for a tired new mother and baby than a warm, snug stable with contented animals.
 

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Straw and hay make poor bedding choices since they will eat the latter, and sometimes the former too. While straw is a great insulator, it doesn't soak urine very well. I can't even imagine what it's like when the whole thing freezes. My open concept barn consists of a large run-in with rubber mats and I use wood pellets for bedding. They break down into sawdust, and absorb urine like cat litter, especially in cold weather! So I can easily remove frozen manure and wood pellets and leave the rest. I add a bit more every other day or so, that way the bedding consists of many layers in various stages of breaking down into sawdust. They are happy to lay in it, but also very much enjoy a nap in the snow on sunny days! I find them in the morning all standing together (I have three) in one corner of the large stall, waiting for their breakfast. Different people do different things, but because I had an older horse with respiratory issues, and because I feel a lot of movement and living as a herd are important, I prefer to leave it up to them whether they want to be in or out.

My daughter and I did get that ride! Unfortunately, the footing still isn't great so we didn't do any canter work. This is rather unusual for us this time of year. Just a couple of weeks ago, we had over a foot of snow on the ground, but it all melted when it rained for a few days. The moisture then went into the sand of the paddock, and froze hard. Riding in snow is much better than this surface. But at least we got out!

I wish I could say that I spend more time with my horses at Christmas, but the reality is that I end up hosting (since I can't go anywhere) which keeps me pretty busy. I will say though, escaping the busy, noisy house full of people to go to the barn for feedings is one of my favorite things to do!
 

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We had a great Christmas good food and nice gifts. Horses got apples an carrots in their dinner Christmas Eve. Lots of hay to last all night. My horses are blanketed , neither are in great shape weight Wise.

Christmas morning chores are done before anything else. Horses are fed and cared for, then when I'm done I get to eat breakfast.

My dog got left overs in her dinner last night. She gets goodies every day so nothing new for her. Kitty's got some cut up ham in their food last night.

My horses live outside most of the time. They have a run-in shelter but they never use it. Also have a barn with 3 stalls that are matted. Barn isn't heated .
Stall have pine shavings just enough to just cover mats. Less bedding makes easier to clean stalls. Horses were in over night last night because it was raining.,cold rain at 33 degrees.

We have snow covered ground probably a good foot of snow. Yes beautiful but makes chores more difficult. Lovely riding in winter,been riding every day for last week or so.

I'm over winter an snow already gets old after a while. Been nice with milder temps this Christmas. As compared to last year,with bitter cold 30 below zero stuff.
 

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No snow here in the Philippines. We hosted a Christmas Eve party at our ranch. Lots of guests and plenty of Filipino style food. Games of various sorts. Breaking the pot, a Filipino version of the piñata with a clay pot filled with candy was one. The goodewyfe asked folks to wear traditional attire. Some wore cowboy clothes. Some of our Ifugao neighbors wore their traditional clothing and treated us to a traditional dance.

Afterwards, we exchanged gifts with our manager and his family, then settled in for some campfire songs around the fire pit.

A couple of the NVSU rodeo team members spent the night with us and took a short Christmas morning ride on our little horse.

Big typhoon hit well to the south of us. But our weather was good.
 

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We have plenty of snow this Christmas. Aside from being fed and watered, I didn't do a whole lot extra with the horses. Just no time with family commitments.

Christmas Eve my parents & I went out for a snowmobile ride on the trails through my neighbors property. It was a lot of fun, and kind of surreal as the fog was drifting in as the sun went down.

My horses are out 24/7, but I did clean out their big horse shelter and put fresh straw down for them....which I know they all enjoy laying down in.

My friends asked what I got the horses and dogs for Christmas - I said nothing. Christmas is every day for all the critters year-round - getting treats, etc. In the past I would sometimes buy a special toy for the dogs for Christmas, or make the horses cookies - but time was not in my favor this year.

And yes, chores definitely get done first before anything else. Christmas morning I made sure horses were fed and watered before heading to my parents for presents and breakfast. And I was actually running late to Christmas dinner at my brother's b/c I was making sure the horses were set up with enough hay for the evening. They are always my first priority.
 
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