Ok - so it's not quite arctic out there but the polar vortex has knocked the temperature/wind chill down to -7 and I
qualify that as pretty damn cold. In the wind and snow, it's important for
the Ninja and I to make sure our animals are well-cared for and as comfortable
In extreme cold [ahem, polar vortex], all of our horses are blanketed during the day and night.
We also have shelter for them to get out of the wind and snow (although I have
seen them stand in a snowstorm several times instead of the barn).
|My handsome compadre, Doc.|
What I wasn't expecting when I went out to blanket and feed horses yesterday morning was for Rooster (the dog) to chase Rooster (the horse)
and another horse through a fence. Resetting and wiring panels was not on my agenda, nor was trudging after two horses through drifted snow with a feed bucket [that's a great workout, for anyone interested].
|Buzzard = not impressed. Check out Friday and Rooster enjoying their [temporary] freedom.|
It didn't last long. They are both fine, no injuries after a romp through the fence, btw.
We increase their hay ration during really cold snaps because hay helps produce body heat. Most of the time during the winter, our horses have several hours access to a large round bale of brome hay. However, right now, we're feeding square bales since I can't get the truck and trailer out of a drift - wishing I had 4WD right about now!
|Rooster looking quite dapper in his winter gear|
In addition to blanketing, providing shelter and extra hay for the horses, we also have to make sure they have plenty of water. Because horses prefer warm water in the winter, we have a water tank with a heating element in the bottom. If we give cold water, in addition to an increased amount of hay, we could end up with colicking horses - which is no bueno - so the heating element keeps the water warm to the touch and keeps the horses drinking as much as they want. I tried to take a picture of the steam coming off it but my iPhone photography skills must not be up to snuff.
|See? Rooster could be in the barn but chooses to stand behind a bush to get a windblock!|
|Our watertank with the heating element - there was steam coming out of the tank!|
When it's this cold, we let the dogs sleep inside at night. And
|Hopefully, those two don't tear up my horse blankets!|we I
spoil the crap out of them with fluffy dog beds, lots of treats and playtime. Look at my adorable, fluffy companions - how can I tell them no?
Rooster and Cricket - frenemies for life. Seriously, Rooster is not digging the fact that Cricket keeps attacking him during his naps and has taken up residence on his dog bed.
How are you keeping your animals warm during this super cold winter and the polar vortex? Let's hope this is the last occurrence [although I highly doubt it].
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~
Labels: animal care, animal welfare, dogs, horses, Kansas, livestock, Rooster, Rooster the rodeo dog, snow, winter