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Sheltering Animals in Storms--Or Not

Whether you shelter your livestock during a storm or possible disaster depends on a number of issues. The USDA offers advice.

Prepare ahead for disaster in case of sudden stormsWhether to move farm animals to shelter or leave them outside will depend on the integrity and location of the shelter being used and the type of disaster, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Florida Animal Disaster Planning Advisory Committee (ADPAC).

Leave Unsheltered--Sometimes
During Hurricane Andrew, some horses left outside suffered less injury then those placed in shelters. This was because some shelters selected did not withstand the high winds.

Horses were injured by collapsing structures and flying objects that may have been avoided on the outside, according the USDA report.

Another reason for possibly leaving animals unsheltered is because flood waters that inundate a barn could trap animals inside, causing them to drown.

Shelter in Winter
During severe winter weather, shelter animals from icy wind, rain, and snow.

The USDA report says generally, if the structure is sound, the animals should be placed indoors. Once they are inside, secure all openings to the outside. As mentioned previously, the sheltering should be ordered and completed before similar action is taken for humans.

Watch the Cats and Dogs
Farm cats and dogs should either be placed in a disaster-proof place or turned loose, as they generally will stay close to their home in the immediate period following a disaster, according to the report.

If they are loose, however, attempts must be made to immediately catch them after the threat is over to prevent these animals from becoming feral and a public health hazard.

Read the entire report called Preparing the Farm and Farm Animals for Disasters.

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Sheltering Animals in Storms--Or Not

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Reader Comments
During the cold winter months we always shelter our animals...Keeping them out of the icy winds and keeping them warm... Although during the spring and fall, is when we get more severe weather... we actually just leave it up to them...they can seek shelter, but they have an escape route if the feel threated...we figured this was a good compromise.
Stephanie, Rushville, IN
Posted: 5/6/2009 9:56:47 AM
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