Monday, January 12, 2009

Keeping Them All Warm In The Frigid Cold

1) For the horses, since I do not have a barn and mine would not be happy in stalls anyway (I'd probably have more than my fair share of injuries) , I do , however, have a three sided shelter available. And they do use it. I keep it clean and I have heavy mats layed down within it, which makes for easier clean up. They can be fed within that shelter and there is plenty of room for them to stand or lay, both of them.

2) Always keep a steady supply of heated water. Snow does not provide the needed water for horses.

3) When it is really cold, I throw a little extra hay to keep their furnace running.

4) A decent blanket over them doesn't hurt either, especially when the frigid air starts in.

5) I allow them plenty of turn out area without opening the pasture. I do this by connecting the paddock with the arena, which gives them room to exercise as evidenced by Miss Kola acting silly in the above picture.

6) I have also provided a wind break from the north by using tarps, both canvas and heavy plastic. It double serves me as a tail protector from the goat boys.

7) Speaking of the Goat Boys, I've provided a calf shelter for them. It sits over a rubber mat and I've tucked it full of straw. They too have a constant supply of warm water and occasionally receive an extra flake of alfalfa.

8) The pups, since I cannot get boots to fit Spot's long toes, Steve is on the hunt for dog safe salt to use on the steps. Their feet get so cold that often Steve and I have to lift them indoors after a round outdoors for a potty. I immediately wipe their feet free from salt and snow or ice. So far so good.

9) Some people use coats or sweaters for their dogs. Mine just tear them off. And once again I'm lucky as they have pretty good winter hair on them. (I'm constantly vacuuming.)

10) Providing shelter and keeping them healthy during the frigid winter weather we're about to get into up here in Wisconsin is surely a challenge, but by now I have had some decent practice at it.

11) I'd also like to add that if your water spigot is exposed to cold as is mine. Keep your hose indoors, unravel the hose, connect it to the spigot when watering and when finished disconnect the hose and reel it up, turn off the spigot so that the water will recede back down to the well and not freeze. Important tip!

I invite anyone out there to add any tips or advice that they have or have learned over the years.


cdncowgirl said...

When its really cold our horses have 24/7 access to the hay. It keeps their little body furnaces going :)

The water tip is good, I really get frustrated with people who don't provide water in the winter. Even IF snow provided enough moisture they loose precious body heat & energy.

Do you have straw/shavings on the mats in the shelter? That would provide an extra cushy layer of warmth.

Callie said...

CDN, Right now, I have not as I throw hay in there to keep them in there to eat. I was planning on adding some straw down and pulling out my 35 gal rubber feeders for hay. That was todays plan, however they haven't finished their am hay yet. I do, however have straw thrown in front of their wind break and water trough.So tomorrow will probably be the extra straw in the shelter.

Le Cheval Endiablé said...

You take care of all of them well.
It's really cold at yours.
Here the temperatures are cold during the night and warm in the afternoon.

Callie said...

As it turns out today, Miss Kola decided to stress colic and bought herself some probiotics and some banamine. Silly horse!

Grey Horse Matters said...

All good tips for cold weather. In order to keep them from making such a mess outside with their hay and spreading it around, we put a raised hay rack in the center of the paddock. I really think you've covered the most important stuff. Hope your girl feels better soon. I hate any kind of colic.

Haley said...

Just a note on #11 from the girl who answers the phone when you call a plumber...You are absolutely right in taking your hose off the spigot! I just wanted to add one thing to those people who don't want to take the time...if the water does freeze in your pipes, it is not just a temporary problem while the water is frozen, it can seriously damage your spigot, if water expands in the faucet itself. This can mean a costly repair when your faucet thaws and you have a major leak on your hands. thanks for the tips!

JJ said...

It sounds cold there! It has been in the high 60s/70s where I live lately, so I don't have any during the cold tips seeing as how I have never had to use them!

I like that you said that snow is not a substitute for water because that seems to be a pretty common belief (and not just with horses either).

About a year ago, I went to a riding barn with my friend's cousin...none of the horses had water - just snow. I asked if the cousin would eat snow if she didn't have any water. She said Of course not, everybody knows it's bad for people! Horses are big though." Um..what? What does size have to do with it? If anything they should be getting more water then!

Anyways, I am bookmarking this list because next year I am going to be living somewhere cold and it will be nice to have some tips. :)

Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses said...

Provide salt blocks. Some people only put them out in summer. Horses colic when they don't drink enough. Mine drink as much if not more in the winter. I run hoses every other day. Drink more, eat more, stay warm.

Andrea said...

I so am not missing the north at all. I grew up in Ohio, on Lake Erie. We had some pretty rough winters, and they are just plain cold!!

It's good you have such a great plan for all the animals. And your poor pups with their cold toes.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Great cold weather critter tips :)

Horses also seem to appreciate a nice warm bran mash when it gets cold, too :)

I sure hope Kola is ok.

aka Rapunzle

Joan said...

Good point Twisted Oaks! We always provide salt too and you can even add it to their feed just a little bit if you don't think they're licking the block. Just a bit on top of the hay works well.

I hope Kola feels better... Sunnie did that a couple winters ago, of course in the middle of the night, and of course in the snow. What a worrisome time that was! And it was due to him not drinking enough.

Reddunappy said...

I have a suggestion, alfalfa meal for the ice, its safe for the animals, someone asked about it on a yahoo list I am on. it will fertilize grass and flowers too. something organic if you are worried about the dogs.

Molly said...

I've got nothing for you, but I like the salt idea. Bella has a salt block in her feeder always to hopefully encourage plenty of water intake, even in the winter.

Callie said...

Great point, Jess, I have a salt block and a selenium mineral block in there for them. Kola is much better. It's Misty's turn to weird out this morning. I think they've both sttled down now to eat, but Misty was weird this morning. Wonder if there were coyotes out there last night, now?

Callie said...

Also, Steve picked up some dog safe salt yesterday to spread on the stairs.

kdwhorses said...

Great tips! Ours have 24/7 access to hay. I feel or top off the water troughs everyday, this morning it included breaking up the ice.
Hope you all keep warm in this cold!

Victoria Cummings said...

Callie - You read my mind. I was going to ask you what extra precautions you take. We're not used to these temps at night that are single digit. And leaving the horses for 12 hours - from 6:30 pm to 6:30 am always makes me nervous when it's so cold. I'm giving them extra hay and filling the heated water buckets in their stalls. They each drink a whole bucket every night, thank god! But 0 degrees and lower - they've never been anywhere that cold! Any more advice would be appreciated.

Callie said...

Well, Victoria, sounds like you have it pretty much covered. I ran out late yesterday afternoon and picked up six bales of straw, three of which I layed down in the shelter and they're now freaked out over and three I spread in front of their windbreak, shich I had already had some down there, just topped it off. SO far , so good, but tonight will come our really dangerous wind chills. I only hope they are smart enough to stand in the shelter!