Young’s dairy uses caution with farm animals during extreme cold

Young’s Jersey Dairy — one of the region’s biggest tourist attractions — is using caution to keep its animals safe at its Clark County farm during the winter.

Record-breaking cold temperatures have been recorded this week. The National Weather Service has issued a wind chill advisory for Clark and Champaign counties until 11 a.m. Saturday.

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Temperatures are expected to be bitter cold on Friday and Saturday, Stormcenter 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini said, dropping to around four below zero on Friday morning and seven below zero on Saturday morning. Highs are only expected to reach 8 degrees on Friday and 13 degrees on Saturday, she said.

Warmer air will arrive on Sunday, bringing the temperatures to around 32 degrees, Zontini said, as well as a likely mix of snow and rain.

Goats are some of the heartier creatures, often venturing outdoors during the winter, said Jay Young, one of the owners of Young’s Jersey Dairy.

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“Obviously they have a nice big winter coat all the time and as the temperatures start to go down in the fall they start to grow more and more hair and that insulates them,” Young said.

That extra hair keeps the goats from having problems from the cold like frostbite. Also, increasing their caloric intake helps, too.

“As long as they are eating a good diet and they’ve got plenty to eat, their body will produce plenty of heat and it’ll keep them warm.”

Cattle are similar to goats, he said, and are cared for in the same manner. Their body tells them to eat more so they can burn more energy to stay warm, Young said, so they’re fed and watered multiple times a day.

Keeping livestock dry also is key, Young said, because if their hair gets wet, it’s not as good of an insulator. That’s when the cold weather becomes dangerous.

“Your animal, such as the goat, they have long hair and they will have an inner layer of hair that insulates them and helps shed that water,” Young said.

Most animals are no different from humans, Young said, and the older the animal, the harder it is for them to handle extreme temperatures.

“If a cow shivers, you know it’s cold when that happens because you don’t see that often,” he said.

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