Winter is Here: Get Your Barn Animals Ready

Winter is officially here! As cooler temperatures, sleet, snow and ice start rolling in, it’s extra important to make sure that your barn animals stay warm. Aside from turning up the heat, we’ve put together some tips to help prepare your four-legged friends for the season.

Dress Them In Winter Wear
Just as you might wear a jacket and hat in the winter, barn animals, particularly baby animals, can use an extra layer of clothing to help stay warm. There are horse blankets, goat coats, chicken coverings, lamb sweaters, calf hats and more. Check out this post from Modern Farmer to learn all about winter clothing options for your livestock.

horse in winter

Stock Up on Extra Feed
According to Colorado State University Extension, extra food is also important, as it helps animals raise their body temperature to get through winter months. One trick is to feed your animals at night. Since heat from digestion peaks a few hours after eating, they are more likely to be warm overnight when temperatures are at their lowest. Here’s a chart from Oregon State University to help you calculate your livestock’s winter hay needs.

lambs eating

Keep Them Hydrated
Keeping your barn animals hydrated helps regulate their digestion and body temperature. Check out this chart from University of Wisconsin-Extension to figure out how much water different animals need.

Additionally, veterinarian Martha Mallicote recommends adding electrolytes to your animals’ water supply to encourage them to drink more. Just don’t forget to keep the water above 40 degrees F, or the water will freeze over. Take a look at one of our earlier posts to discover a fun trick you can do to prevent water from hardening.

horses drinking water

Add Extra Bedding
Giving your livestock extra bedding during the winter months helps insulate animals from the cold ground. If you’re looking for bedding this winter, our Nature’s bedding product is a great option, as it’s made from super absorbent non-allergenic Kiln dried pine. You can also use mats as a barrier in between the floor and layer of bedding.

pig sleeping
Photo by Jon Butterworth on Unsplash

Install Freezer Flaps
Zoo Atlanta goat keeper Adrianna Lenz recommends adding freezer flaps to all of your barn doors. Freezer flaps help keep cold air outside and prevent wind from getting into the barn.

horse in stable

We hope that our tips help keep your barn animals warm and cozy this winter. If you have other techniques that you use for your furry friends, please let us know by tagging us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.