With summer behind us and the cool fall weather here, now is the time to start preparing for the cold winter months ahead. Here in Southern California, we are very fortunate to have relatively mild winters (mostly rain and cold nights) unlike many of you who live in parts of the country where it gets bitter cold.
Our animals need extra protection in the winter, just like we do. Whether you have a large ranch, or an acre or two with a few barnyard critters, be sure your animals are safe and warm.First to consider is your water source. If you are fortunate enough to have a heated electric waterer or de-icer you won’t have to worry about water freezing. Otherwise, you can purchase a water heater from your local tack or farm supply store. Install and test them before freezing temperatures hit, to assure your animals will have a fresh water supply.
Also, check shelter areas, so that your animals can protect themselves from heavy drafts or wind from winter storms. Inspect roofs to make sure they are stable enough to hold heavy snow or ice.
You will want to have an ample food supply to last through the winter. Animals need to eat more in winter to provide calories for heat energy. Estimate hay needs and make sure to buy extra. With the very cold weather, you will need to increase daily feed to help your animals withstand frigid temperatures. It’s also very important to make sure your animals have a strong immune system this time of year, by providing supplements and nutritional products. We have several to choose from, including our popular Immune Boost which will supply all the vital nutrients necessary to keep your animals strong and healthy.
It is very important to assure your animals stay warm. Be sure to check your heat sources. Adequate bedding will help insulate a damp or cold floor. Inspect heat lamps to make sure they are in working order. Young, elderly or sick animals will need extra heat to keep them warm in freezing temperatures.Those of you that have poultry, gather eggs several times daily to help prevent them from freezing. Fresh eggs have a small amount of air space in them, but water expands when it freezes.
Don’t forget about your barn cats and outdoor dogs. Build them a cozy sleeping nest in a draft free part of the barn. Take a travel crate and surround it with baled hay or straw to provide a den-like setting. When temperatures are extremely low, outdoor dogs and cats should be kept indoors. When stocking up for winter supplies include feed for barn cats, stock dogs, and household pets. You don’t want to run out of cat litter when you are snowbound! Having a well thought out plan can help you prepare for unexpected emergencies and keep your animals safe and sound throughout the winter months.
We wish you a very happy fall season. Thank you for your continued support. We appreciate your business very much.
Yours in animal health,
Chris and Roger Richardson