Hurricanes can be detrimental to our homes on top of our well-being, putting us into a life or death situation. Unfortunately, it’s not just us and our families that are put into danger, but our animals and livestock as well. There are many things we can do in order to protect our livestock, steps we can take before the hurricane even takes place and lessons we can learn from past hurricanes.
First and foremost, create a disaster plan in the case of hurricane for your home, property and barn. The first mistake a lot of livestock owners make is assuming that animals will be safe inside of the barn, when in actuality debris is the main cause of injuries to animals, and a lot of deaths take place because animals are trapped inside of wires and ruins so euthanasia becomes the best option.
Horses tend to turn their tail to the storm, so their backsides are a common place for injuries, but don’t keep your animals inside of the barn in order to prevent debris injuries because your barn could easily collapse, and many animals won’t have the ability to follow their instincts and save themselves. In the case of a hurricane, keep debris in mind. If you have any picnic tables or fences that can fly away, turn them upside down and prepare for the worst.
Keep a box of safety supplies inside of your home. Keep halters, ropes, tarps, leads, anything you need to retrieve your animals from your barn inside of this box and make it easy to access. Make sure to label any hazardous materials, any containers containing materials that could be toxic and any propane tanks. Chain the tanks to the ground with stakes to insure their inability to fly off, as that could be deadly. It would be a really good idea to keep a supply o animal feed and any medicines the animals need in your home, stored in the case of emergency. Start with a two-week supply. Keeping your property filled with only native plants will lessen the likelihood of plants uprooting and turning into debris. This could be an important factor in case of emergency.
Right before the storm, put identification on the larger animals and let them loose! By keeping them in the barn you are lessening their chances. By turning them loose they will have the ability to stick to their instincts and leave the area and run from the storm. Do not make the mistake of leaving your home during the storm in a savior attempt to save your animals. If you aren’t living, your animals won’t have their owner to take care of them. Making sure that your animals are up to date on any and all vaccinations and keeping additional feed and water supplies will give them the best chance to make it out alive and unharmed. In the case of smaller animals, if possible, bring them inside of your home to await safety.
No matter how dangerous these natural disasters can be, there are steps and precautions we can take as animal owners and lovers in order to give them the best chance of surviving!