Farm preparation for winter storms needs to begin in the fall.
In severely cold temperatures, livestock need extra protection. While animals will survive cold given full feed and water sources, they will be stressed by cold is aggravated by high winds. Windbreaks need to be planned and erected before the onset of cold weather. In the short-term a porous snow fence and shallow open-front shed provide excellent shelters for livestock. Sheds should never be closed tightly, because stock could suffocate when they use up available oxygen.
In the long term, consider a windbreak of trees, located to the northwest of your farmstead and preferably 100 feet from farm buildings and feedlots. The windbreak should contain several tree species to take advantage of different growth rates, and offer biological diversity, adding resistance to disease and pests.
Call your local Cooperative Extension Agent for fence designs and windbreak plantings best suited to your locale.
Plan for severe cold by testing or replacing camp stoves and heaters and water heaters for animals
Plan emergency feeding and watering procedures for the advent of a winter storm.
Examine your equipment sheds and barns for needed repairs. Look at guttering systems to anticipate and prevent damage from ice dams; and at roofs for ability to withstand heavy snow loads.
After the storm is over, get food and especially water to the animals. Place heaters in water tanks if the temperatures are extremely low, to allow the animals plenty of water.
If the storm causes the power to fail, provide heat via camp stoves or heaters especially for pregnant or young animals.
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