Keeping farm animals warm on a snow day

A horse at Swany Creek Ranch wears a pink camo jacket during Cenla's Sneaux Day.<br />(KALB)
A horse at Swany Creek Ranch wears a pink camo jacket during Cenla's Sneaux Day.<br />(KALB)(KALB)
Published: Jan. 16, 2018 at 6:41 PM CST
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While a snow day might mean getting the day off from school or work, for people who have animals like cows, goats or horses, it means having to go into the snow to take care of them.

We've got flurries in Central Louisiana and that means it's time to dress the kids in every jacket they own, make a few snow angels, maybe a 'Who Dat' snowman to make us feel better and of course take cute pictures of the dogs!

It may look as pretty as a postcard outside but for some its more.

"That's about the extent of it," joked Susanne Swan, owner of Swany Creek Ranch in Leesville. "The pretty white snow turns into slush afterward and then we have mud everywhere. We do enjoy the view and it makes a pretty picture but it goes with a lot of work for us."

Swan said they have to make sure the animals have plenty of food and water when the temperature drops.

"Since it goes below freezing we do have to shut our water off and give them water buckets, therefore we have to haul water to the horses two times sometimes three times a day."

The domesticated horses get winter coats. "Our domesticated horses that have been spoiled don't have much of a winter coat. Once you start putting blankets on you have to keep putting blankets on them or stalling them up or both. We give them their flu shots in the fall just like they do for humans so they won't get sick and give them lots of food, if they have all you can eat hay that produces heat when they eat."

Meanwhile, the heartier wild horses can usually fend for themselves.

"Are you enjoying the snow? You're probably the only one!" said Swan to a baby, a Fort Polk horse in foster care with his mother.

"We had water in the bucket and she stomped it until the ice was broken and she could get to the water but our domesticated horses don't do that anymore they just look at it and wait for you."

Then there's Beau, who hasn't really figured out the whole jacket thing yet. Swan said Beau tends to get tangled up in his green coat and she has to adjust it throughout the day or he'll step on it and tear it up.

Swan said the horses fare well in the cold, but If temperatures drop below the forecasted overnight lows of 17 degrees and into the lower teens then they'll really be in some trouble.