Farmers buckle down to protect animals from harsh weather

Preparations begin after fall harvest
Farmers buckle down to protect animals from harsh weather

VIDEO Farmers buckle down to protect animals from harsh weather

The chilly winds and freezing temperatures can be difficult for animals living outside. When cold weather is approaching Janesville, farmer Doug Rebout said his animals can sense it.

“Somehow they know it because their fur and coat does get thicker,” Rebout, a second-generation farmer said.

His family cares for about 700 head of cattle. He said preparing that many animals for the winter begins before the first snowfall.

“We make the bedding in the fall after we’re done harvesting our crops, we go out and get the stalks out of the field and put them into big bales,” He said.

They don’t heat their barn, but Rebout estimates it’s about 20 degrees warmer than the temperature outside. They pull the shades on the sides of the barn to help block out the wind. The young calves born on Christmas Day will be wrapped in blankets.

“The smaller animals we keep inside to protect them more. The bigger animals they go out to eat and drink, that’s about it, but they always have a building to go into,” he said.

With the price of each animal ranging from a few hundred to more than $1,000 their business could be seriously impacted if the animals aren’t kept warm. Rebout said they do everything they can to keep the animals safe from the bitter cold including extra bedding.

“We’re always making sure that they’re bedded nice whether it’s really cold or 50 degrees out. You want them to have good bedding and kept dry,” Rebout said.

Rebout said they also increase the amount of feed the animals receive in the winter. He said the extra food will be converted to energy to help them stay warm.