Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A cold Winter with Farm Cats and Dogs Means. . ."If You are Cold..."

Each winter, the posts begin about bringing all CATS and ALL DOGS indoors during the cold days ahead. The farmer who leaves his working dog outside "working" is demonized. 

One wonders what these folks think of the goats, sheep, horses and cattle outside? To be hair, the working dogs and cats (barn mousers) after have it far easier given their ability to get into warmer spots with coats that are even more winter ready than any goat I've seen.

 Are we farmers doing the cows and horses harm by not bringing them inside, as well?



Doesn't the statement: "If You are Cold, THEY ARE Cold," apply to all?
(I'm in jest, folks)
(I'm in jest, folks)

If you have a dog or cat that isn't typically outdoors, that is another matter. They should not be left out as they are ill equipped if they are accustomed to being in certain temps. Further, You should never have a dog tied out in any weather and leave them to try to survive.


If you have a pet that genetically isn't a type kept outside at all in the past decades - i.e. small breeds like Chihuahuas, breeds genetically not suited to harsh winter based on their historical genetic background or those disadvantages in some way (age, illness), I believe they thrive best inside with temperatures that are mild/moderate when weather is A-typical for what they are genetically prepared to live through.

The genetic package truly isn't there for some breeds - it takes generations to breed something in or out. . .

But for many breeds of dogs - the genetics ARE there for outdoor living when they are well nourished and given solid options for shelter, just like it is there for goats, cattle, poultry, pigs and more. . .

I have to assume many people are just truly unaware when they post some of the things I'm seeing. It really makes no sense to leave one's livestock out in a barn or on pasture (which is perfectly acceptable with wind breaks, shelter to stay dry and water/food) and say a double coated working Pyrenees that comes from generations (as many do, especially those actively working on a farm) of working dogs that has grown a coat for winter through the seasonal changes their coats have and is acclimatized to cold temps (from decades or FAR, FAR MORE in genetic history) should be brought in when his flock is outside. The flock he protects.


You have issues if you take an inside dog and put them out in the middle of winter. You would have problems if you brought goats up from Florida in December and threw them out in the winters of the north, yes. You also be off track if you take a dog who grew a coat for winter through outdoor living in the fall and you bring him into a house that 75 degrees.


Common sense, folks. 

DON'T DO those things. . .

If a healthy animal's genetic package works with the outdoors and the animal is acclimatized - you are not doing them a disservice by providing appropriate food and shelter verses bringing them in to temps far higher than they are used to in winter, No more than your sheep and goats guarded by the said dog are being dealt a disservice, for instance.

Now, if a person wants to do this - that is a personal choice, but it is neither kinder or more sensible.

My Pyr has three options for shelter - a covered porch where it is dry with a bedding area, a huge dog house with straw and a covered opening. . . and a barn full of hay. . .

And just where do I often find him in the worst of weather? Laying in the driveway and rolling around playing with the other farm dogs. . .because that is WHAT dogs that have acclimatized coats, breeding and so forth think of cold weather. . .

Where were the horses in snow, rain and wind? Well, not in the barn with hay - they are found poking around on the hillside in the wind. . .

Your acclimated farming dogs, just like your livestock, should have access to windbreaks, shelter, bedding, plenty of food and unfrozen water -

They will be fine.

We can all sigh with relief now.

Pages

LUCAS FARM

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27




"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington