People all over New England are preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. One thing that is really important for a farm, on top of all the safeguards in place for humans, is making sure that our livestock will be safe as well.
Food and water is of course critical. Make sure you have enough food and water for your animals for at least a week. Storms can cause widespread power outages and clean, potable water is really important for the health and wellbeing of your livestock. We’re very lucky that here at the farm our water is gravity fed and so we’re able to have a continuous supply of fresh water even when the power goes out.
Make sure to have any necessary first aid supplies on hand. Especially in high wind scenarios livestock have the potential to sustain scrapes and cuts – know how to deal with them in case there are minor emergencies and your vet is unable to reach you.
During major storms we DO NOT close our animals in the barn. They all have access to multiple three sided shelters and an under-barn run-in. Animals closed into barns or stalls may panic and injure themselves in violent weather. In extreme situations barns can collapse or have trees fall on them. We let our livestock make their own choices about where to take shelter in a storm. Some utilize the barns, but often they prefer open space or the cover of thickets. We also open the access gates to all pastures – if flooding is a risk it is important to allow livestock access to higher ground.
We’ve battened down the hatches and are as prepared as we can be. Stay safe everyone!