Subzero temperatures are rampant across the US this weekend. People are snuggled in their homes except when they must go to work. Vehicles from warm garages start smartly, but those parked outside slowly grind to start, if they do. Car windows need to be cleaned of ice and snow and heaters do not seem to produce much heat. The cold is a nuisance that must be overcome to meet daily needs. However, back in the barn there is another story.
It may be very cold outside, but animals still need to eat and drink every day. Rising later than normal due to the below zero temps, animal caretakers in insulated hats, gloves, coveralls, and boots brace against the cold twice daily to tend to animal needs. Here at ANIROONZ all our four-legged creatures are out of the wind and have a dry place to lay down. Feed is carted to them over ice and snow in a wheel barrel as the skidster – even though it was plugged in last night – does not start. Attempts are made to fork the hay into the bunks with the winds blowing half into the air with the falling snow. Chains on the wheels of the truck grip the ice and snow, as buckets of grain are carried on the flatbed to all barns for hungry, appreciative mouths. Occasional chain links clatter against the wheels and frozen fingers hurry to repair them while we crawl on the frozen ground under the truck. Frozen “heated” waterers that cannot be thawed result in buckets of water being carried, ice forming on the buckets and coveralls as we walk to the stalls. By morning the remaining water will be frozen solid.
And when feeding is finally done, we retire to surround the wood burning stove to heat our frozen faces, toes, and fingers. In a few hours we do it all over again, and again the next day no matter the temperature, the rain or snow, or wind. The animals must be fed and carried for. But even with the challenges to brave the artic environment to feed them, there is peace knowing that our animals are on dry straw out of the wind with full bellies. These few weeks of bitter cold demand zealous care for our animals. This care if not only for them, but the time is not far off when new lives will be born into our barn. With our dedicated care, new healthy lambs and kids will soon be dancing across our barn!