farm animals

When a hurricane approaches, everyone should act to protect themselves. But farmers and ranchers have to keep their animals safe, too.

“Folks are learning more and more how to prepare for those disasters,” says Sarah Bostick, an agriculture extension agent in Sarasota County, Florida.

She says beef cattle, for example, tend to be resilient. So as long as they’re in an area that won’t flood, they are often safer outside than in a barn, which could collapse during a storm with high winds.

“The best thing that you can do for your beef cattle is actually just to make sure they’re in a pasture that is not near a major road and doesn’t have any power lines running through it,” she says.

But horses require a different approach. Bostick says their pastures are often close to buildings and power lines, and they frighten easily.

“Horses tend to be the animals that suffer the most when we have a storm that comes through,” she says. “They have a major flight response.”

So when possible, many owners choose to evacuate their horses. And others mark them with contact information in case they run away.

“People use things like oil-based paint to paint their phone numbers directly onto the side of their horse,” Bostick says.

So by understanding the unique needs of each species, owners can help protect them.

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Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Food & Agriculture