Matt speaks again with Dave Farris. In this far-reaching conversation, Dave describes taking care of animals like rabbits, chickens, and other small animals during cold weather and into Spring. You will also hear from Shelly Paxton, D&B Supply’s large animal buyer.

How do I keep my small animals warm?
Dave states that small animals like Rabbits need to have a box to curl up in with dry bedding, fresh food and water. If the small animals are in wire cages there needs to be a solid bottom or a nesting box in the cage to keep them warm.
Are Heat Lamps an Efficient way to keep my Small Animals Warm?
Dave doesn’t always recommended heat lamps due to the sudden change in temperature when the animal goes outdoors. It also is harder for the animal to regulate their body temperature naturally with an outside heat source.
Freezing Temps create frozen eggs. Anything we can do to prevent this?
Egg laying can be random in the colder temperatures because the Chickens energy is preserved into straying warm. Adding a heat lamp in the Hen House can help prevent frozen eggs.
Is natural for a Chicken to stop laying in the fall or winter?
Yes, adding artificial light will help regulate the chickens during shorter daylight hours and keep them laying all year long. 12-14 hours of light per day is necessary for chickens to keep laying in colder temperatures.
How to Take Care of Chickens & Smaller Animals in the Cold goat tracks in snow

Shelly, D&B Supply’s large animal buyer got her start working at a Veterinarian and worked in the animal health and feed division. She is currently going back to school for her animal nutrition degree.

What is the best way to take care of small animals in the cold?
Shelly states that the number one priority for any animal in colder temperatures is a clean water supply. She also shares that animals consume more water during colder months due to them not consuming as much forage, which holds moisture. One tip is to always give your animals room temperature in the winter, this will help regulate their body temperature.
What are the three most important tips for keeping animals healthy in the winter?

Shelly states that the three most important things for any animal is having access to clean water, dry bedding & shelter. She also shares that supplements will aide in preventing “stressors” due to colder temps.

How to keep my Chickens not “cooped up” in the winter?

If your Chickens are not leaving the coop due to snow or cold temperatures, try creating a covered run where they can go to be “outside” and utilize a spot for a dirt bath.

How to keep Goats happy in the cold?

Goats are more sensitive to colder weather. It is extremely important to keep Goats in a shelter with dry bedding and of course plenty of water.

How to keep Rabbits dry in the winter?

Rabbits, need to have a dry shelter to get out of the weather and more feed, and of course fresh water is crucial. Rabbits will bulk up for the winter so make sure to have plenty of feed. One tip is to check the rabbits ears to make sure their ears are not frozen. Giving them a heat source like a heated pad and heated pet bowls will assure a healthy animal.

Shelly says that when it comes to cold weather all animals are the same. Fresh clean water, dry bedding and a shelter are the three the most important tips to keeping healthy animals healthy in the colder months.

To learn more listen to our podcast below.

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