How to Prepare Your Outdoor Large Animals for winter?
Before the weather gets too cold, these are a few tips on how to prepare for the upcoming cold months.
- Buy enough winter feed and bedding supplies early e.g. hay and straw – make sure these are free from molds, weeds, dust and discoloration. Store in a dry protected location.
- Buy footing materials that can come in handy when padlocks, gates and walkways get icy. E.g. sand and crushed rock
- Clean out manure from paddocks.
- Shelters- Do you have enough for the number of animals? Are the entrances wide enough so that bullies don’t hog the whole shelter? Are they in good repair?
- Lighting needs- Do you have adequate outdoor lighting to see the quality and amount of your hay that you are feeding. If you use flash lights, where are they located and do they have batteries that are charged?
- Heated water buckets- Test these to make sure they are in good repair before you need them. Horses and cattle will not drink from dangerous water sources if you have a short or a voltage problem.
- Trim hooves and /or put shoes and snow pads on in warmer weather so that your horse can acclimatize before the ground freezes.
- Check labels on medication for proper storage. Most become useless or even possibly harmful after they are frozen.
How to Prepare Your Outdoor Small Animals for winter?
Before the weather gets too cold, these are a few t`ips on how to prepare for the upcoming cold months.
- A shelter that is weather tight or access to an insulated dog/cat house, garage or shed should be provided. Remember that wind chill can make your pet even colder then the recorded temperature outside. Hypothermia is always a concern.
- Clean fluffy straw is the best outdoor bedding material. Old blankets have a tendency to pack down and provide little warmth when this happens.
- If you chose to use a dog or cat bed place an emergency foil or space blanket under it. This will turn your regular bed into a self heating bed.
- Make sure all bedding is in good repair. Replace damaged, soiled, or chewed bedding.
- Feed room temperature meals. Don’t make your animal use precious body heat to digest ice cold meals.
- It is recommend to feed smaller, more frequent meals to help keep energy and body temperature up.
Provide fresh warm water 24 hours a day. Heaters or heated water bowls can be used