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Weather fluctuations take toll on farm animals

Kelsey McEwen, reporter
April 16, 2013 — Record breaking warmth followed by frigid temperatures and heavy snow. The spring weather roller coaster is affecting some farm animals in Alberta.

Wintery weather affected Alberta farm animals
Wintery weather affected Alberta farm animals

Winter weather continues to hang on across the Prairies, leaving residents confused about how to dress.†

Whether it's flip flops or snow boots, people have to be prepared for the fluctuating temperatures and potential winter-like storms.†

But how is the unpredictable season impacting animals on the farm?

"It's definitely more difficult on the animals than it is on us humans because we can put a coat on or take it off, whereas they canít," says Calgary cattle farmer Danielle Lee.†

From recording breaking highs to unseasonably cold lows and snow, Mother Nature is certainly taking a toll on some animals this spring.†

"It can be rough on some of the babies," says sheep farmer Shannon Richardson. "They get a thing called scours, which is similar to humans having diarrhea type thing, just because of the change in temperatures and the moisture."†

Richardson adds that the weather has forced them to move their lambing back.†

"We used to lamb in the winter and now we lamb this time of year. So it's a bit different for us."

Horses brought inside the barn if conditions are really cold and wet
Horses brought inside the barn if conditions are really cold and wet

Farmers say it's important to make sure that the livestock is comfortable and warm if the temperature starts to drop.

"Say we get a blizzard or something, where itís going to be really wet especially this time of year, weíll actually bring them in the barn for the night," says clydesdale horse owner Rhonda Monahan.†

Regardless of the recent wild weather, farmers say you've got to be prepared for anything.

"I donít think in Alberta thereís a really good time to calve or lamb because we get snow in July. So you hit when you can and hope the weather cooperates," adds Richardson.

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