Saturday, January 7, 2017

Zero Degrees in the Barnyard

When temperatures dip below 20 degrees, people ask how the barnyard animals are handling the cold.

The horses, sheep and even the chickens handle the cold weather better than the hot weather. For, with winter coats and a wind break, they only need extra hay to warm up.

And they love extra hay.

Last night temperatures dipped below zero degrees Fahrenheit, but the winds were calm. So the horses spent the night in the pastures, pawing through snow for grass, rolling and snoozing.

For the dogs, temperatures below zero mean shortened walks. Old paws feel the cold in sub-zero weather and after five minutes or so, I few of the dogs begin tiptoeing.

The sheep have hooves instead of paws, so after eating their hay they mosey to the pasture. Their thick coats and low stature handle the cold just fine.

The chickens venture outside, but not as much as when it's warmer.

The Buckeye chickens were developed to handle Ohio winters. They have short combs and heavy bodies. They don't let a little snow keep them from roaming.

After lunch, when temperatures finally reached double digits, I took the dogs on their daily walk around the hay fields.

Jack came back with icicles, and Niki, with a dirty nose.

Both seemed disappointed that herding training wasn't on the afternoon agenda.

But 20 degrees is when the human works the dogs on sheep.

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