The Joy of Winter on the Farm

Rachelle prefers checking the hog water on cold winter mornings, it's a lot warmer inside the heated hog barns!

Rachelle prefers checking the hog water on cold winter mornings, it’s a lot warmer inside the heated hog barns!

I love living on our farm and I’m glad my kids get to experience farm life.  The older they get the more they realize winter isn’t as much fun as it used to be.  Winters are normally long on the farm, it seems like the cold weather lasts a little too long for my liking.  This winter is no different.

Our daughter is checking the cattle water tanks on the farm.  She's found a frozen one and is busting the ice.

Our daughter is checking the cattle water tanks on the farm. She’s found a frozen one and is busting the ice.

The cold temperature creates extra work for anyone who works outside, especially farms that raise livestock.  Cold weather makes watering our cattle a headache some days.  We use water tanks to water our cattle with, they have to be filled daily.  In the winter, when the weather is below freezing, we have to check the water tanks multiple times a day to make sure the ice is broken so the cattle can drink.  While this isn’t a difficult job normally, it is time consuming.  It delays our ability to get other jobs done in a timely manner which means the work day gets longer.

Another job that is complicated in the winter is our ability to feed our livestock.  If there is a lot of snow on the ground we have to move the snow off our driveways so the feed truck can get around.  This snow removal creates extra work for us that we wouldn’t normally have in nice weather.  The kids are always thrilled to see the white fluffy snow begin to fall but Kevin and I almost cry because we know how much extra labor it causes on the farm.  Once their initial excitement wears off, the kids quickly realize if there isn’t school they will be aiding in snow removal, feeding the hogs and thawing out livestock waters and their joy begins to fade too.

Washing our trailers during the winter is also a challenge.  We wash and disinfect all of our livestock trailers after each use; we do this to prevent disease being tracked into our hog barns.  It’s no fun to wash a trailer when the water freezes the instant it touches the aluminum trailer.  That’s one reason we use hot water to wash our trailers with.  It’s one of the most important jobs on our farm but in the winter it becomes one of the most difficult jobs.

On this snowy morning Rachelle is checking to see if the cattle need more mineral.

On this snowy morning Rachelle is checking to see if the cattle need more mineral.

Broken water lines, frozen water hoses, snow covered driveways, treacherous terrain to walk on, the list of winter challenges is long but the work still has to get done.  I am very proud of my family, especially my husband, who just keeps working until the job gets done.  He’s missed many of our kid’s ballgames because he was thawing out livestock waters, fixing broken fences or blading snow packed driveways.  And every day he walks out of the house to do it all over with a smile on his face.  Some days that smile is bigger than others, but he still manages to smile because he knows each new day is one day closer to SPRING!

About Chris Chinn

My husband, Kevin, and I are 5th generation farmers. We live on our family hog farm in Missouri with our two children. Our dream is that our children will have the opportunity be the 6th generation of farmers in our family.
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7 Responses to The Joy of Winter on the Farm

  1. Becky says:

    Great post as usual.

  2. JW says:

    Wow, and I’m upset because I have to scrap my car windows. What a big job you have, but you take everything in stride. I admire that. May Spring come quickly for you and your farm. Have a blessed day, Joi

  3. Donna Dickneite says:

    Yep. Your post pretty much sums up winter life on the farm. Nowadays all our sows are indoors, but not too many years ago we had a group of sows in an old barn and fed them outside on a concrete slab. My son and his Dad would go really early to shovel the snow off the pad, trying to be quiet because when the sows heard you out there they’d come tromping over the pad making snow removal so much more difficult. Sometimes it’s all I can do to keep from rolling my eyes when I hear people croon about a ‘snow day’! Thanks for your post, keep up the great work!

  4. Cavs says:

    you may have intended the story to highlight the challenges you face on your farm during winters, but in it I saw beauty, a team holding each others hand and confronting these challenges. Its a small inspiring story. Thanks for sharing.

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