Livestock need special protection during a hurricane.
During Hurricane Andrew in 1992, livestock owners believed their large animals were safe in barns. But it proved exactly the opposite. Many animals were killed when the barns collapsed. Others died from dehydration and kidney failure after wandering for days without food and water.
The safest place for large animals is an open pasture clear of trees and objects that can be blown around by wind.
One of the best precautions to take before the storm is to install a hand pump on your well. If power is shut off, you can still pump water for animals.
Here are some other tips for keeping livestock safe in a storm:
- Close stall and barn doors and open all interior fencing on your pasture, then turn the animals loose. Though flying debris injured animals during Hurricane Andrew, many of the injuries were treatable. An ideal pasture will have a low area such as a pond, for animals to take shelter during the storm, and high ground that’s less likely to flood.
- Have a two-week supply of food and medication in your house, in waterproof containers, for animals.
- Put halters on all animals before turning them out into the pasture, and put metal identification tags on the halters.
- Fill all troughs and other possible containers outside, such as canoes or small boats, with water. This will help keep them from blowing away and provide a possible source of water after the storm.
If you must move your animals before the storm, you need to be on the road 72 hours before the hurricane strikes. Traffic will be a mess and livestock trailers are unstable in high winds that will hit eight to 10 hours before the storm.
Police may order vehicles such as livestock trailers off the roads once winds reach 40 mph.