Cold no problem for American buffalo; other farm animals need extra care

Farm animals aren’t immune to the cold, but some can handle it better than others.

The Jersey cows on Dave Linkhart’s farm near Xenia started growing their thick hide back in the fall. And his herd of American buffalo has 10 times the number of hairs per square inch compared to the cows.

“They’re acclimated to this. Especially the bison,” Linkhart said of the native species. “They don’t even come in. You’d give them a barn and they wouldn’t go into it.”

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Linkhart makes sure his herds are well fed through the winter because they need the extra calories to keep up their energy. He also constantly checks the water to make sure it isn’t frozen.

Some animals prefer to stay inside.

“Hogs don’t have that much hair, but as long as there are more than one of them, they’ll pile up to keep each other warm and they have a thick layer of fat on them, helps insulate their bodies as well,” Linkhart said.

Enjoying an afternoon outdoors, many horses on area farms were wearing blankets, some quite colorful.

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Officials with the Ohio Department of Agriculture said how well animals do in the winter depends a lot on how acclimated they are to Ohio winters. For example, horses born here are used to them, but horses brought in from warmer climates may  need some extra care.

Many local farm families, including Linkhart’s, have been taking care of animals for generations and know their livestock well.

“Again, it’s primarily important, you give them a place to get out of the weather and plenty of feed and water,” he said.

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