Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter / Emergency Preps, Animals

Regardless if your home includes livestock or the “normal” indoor feline or canine companions, you need to consider their needs during a storm, power outage or other emergency. 
Some emergency items we have on hand for our indoor cats / dog:
Cages or pet carriers for each animal
Extra leashes & collars with ID’s
Extra food & medications

Our livestock consists of a small herd of goats, about two-dozen chickens & two equines.  They require a lot more supplies than do the indoor fuzz balls and most of it is related to keeping them IN their respective areas – and therefore out of danger.
Extra fencing supplies like wire, t-posts, cattle panel & field fencing is a must.  If it weren’t for our supply of “extras”, we would have had a tough time keeping in the goats & mule after the ice storm took out large sections of fence.  Our ¾ acre of electric-fenced area for the goats was down in so many places that we’ve yet to get it back to the original size.  Their fencing now consists of cattle panels held up by t-posts but it is considerably smaller.  Being able to get the electric fence back online in the mule pasture was a high priority.  Ms. Melman will test the electrified top wire once in a while & she would have eventually figured out that it was off & she could start leaning on the field fencing again.
We also have a 4’ x 16’ chain link kennel which is easily moved by two people.  I’m really glad we have it as it gets used several times a year for various critters and would make a nice temporary emergency holding pen for the goats.
Other emergency items we have on hand:  electrolytes, Pro-Bios, blood-stop powder, general antibiotics (and syringes) and a balling and drenching gun.  A book of general animal care is a good idea.  I also keep a pair of heavy-duty gloves, wire snips & extra collars / leads in the barn.  Another item that is on the “to do” list is to buy a suture kit and to practice on some of the already-butchered chickens.
Have you considered how you are going to get water to your livestock if you are dependent on an electric well pump & the power goes out?  If you had to haul water, what kind of containers are you going to use?  And how far are you going to have to carry it?
Having extra feed & water buckets is also handy.  We keep about 400 lbs. of various grains in metal garbage cans during the winter months.  We can’t keep that much in the summer as the humidity causes the metal cans to sweat & it spoiled a lot of the grain this year.  About 3 months’ worth of hay is kept dry, stacked on pallets in a pole barn.
One last often-overlooked item in the animal department; pet sitters.  Do you have someone to watch your animals if you find yourself stranded from home or have a situation where you are unable to care for them?  When Rhiannon was born, I was in the hospital with her for a month & Paul was gone for up to a week at a time.  We were fortunate that our neighbors and my Mom were able to take care of everyone while we were gone.  I can’t imagine what a mess it could have been without their help.

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