Ranchers, Farmers Preparing for Next Cold Snap

Ranchers, Farmers Preparing for Next Cold Snap

By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND COUNTY - The next wave of icy cold temperatures is headed our way but we're not the only ones who have to prepare. Ranchers have to look after their show animals and livestock.

Show animal owners tell NewsWest 9, it's a lot like taking care of an athlete, especially during these freezing temperatures. You feed them, give them plenty of water and make sure they're warm and sheltered from the wind.

As the next intense cold snap approaches, farmers and ranchers are preparing for potential power outages and a shortage of water.

"We live in the county, so we have well water. No electricity, no well, no water. So I have jugs of water in a stock, in a supply," a Midland County resident said.

The resident, who owns a horse, says she likes her horse to go all natural.

"The horse, 'Honey', is not here right now. She's north of town at a trainer's. I did go out and take her blanket so she'd have a little blanket for the cold and wet. I went to take it off when it got warmer because I wanted her to have a natural winter coat," the resident said.

Courtni Munson, the 4H and Youth Development Agent of Midland County Agrilife Extension, recommends show animals be given warm water during the winter and be provided with adequate shelter and bedding like hay and shavings.

Most importantly, if you see a cold snap coming, stock up in advance.

"I recommend that farmers and ranchers that are going to foresee icy and extreme weather conditions like we have just had, stock up on the proper amount of water and food," Munson said.

Munson adds, if show animals and livestock are not cared for properly, it could trigger extreme levels of stress, causing weight loss, dehydration and hypothermia.

If travel is required with your livestock, it's best to wait out the cold snap.

"Animals are not able to travel very far in icy conditions. They can slip and fall. If they're not properly cared for in the right time frame, then they can stress and the ultimate 'finale' I guess is the word for it," Munson said.

If you're a show animal owner and you have questions about proper care during the winter, give the Midland County Agrilife Extension a call at 432-686-4700. You can also call your local vet.