With frigid temperatures covering the province, it is easy to see people bundling up and doing their best to stay warm. From hot chocolate to cozy blankets, everyone has their favourite way to stay toasty during winter. However, it is not just people feeling the sting of the colder months; one rancher says she is already making sure her animals stay warm.
Raylene Everitt, owner of Boundary Creek Ranch, says many of her horses are blanketed, and chickens have a heat lamp; even the pig gets warm food twice a day, courtesy of Everitt’s daughter, which is known as his ‘coffee.’
“Even though they can survive those temperatures and in most cases be just fine, with some support and help though shelter, heat lamps, hay beds etc., we can make them a lot more comfortable,” she said in a statement to the Grand Forks Gazette.
Everitt says coming from a show-horse background and running what she considers to be a ‘hobby’ farm, she is aware that her opinions differ from many others in the area, especially when it comes to blanketing horses.
“Most people up here think animals can handle the temperatures, and I get slammed on Facebook all the time for my unpopular opinion,” she said.
While Everitt recognizes that well-fed animals can keep themselves warm through the winter, she says some of her older horses are used to being blanketed.
Before moving to Greenwood two years ago, Everitt lived on the coast of B.C. where it is necessary to blanket horses to keep them dry from the larger amounts of rain.
She also blankets her other newly-purchased senior horses that seem to prefer it. Even the wild ranch horses, which often want to be left alone, come running at the site of their blanket.
Everitt does not blanket her younger two-year-old horses, who are stronger due to their youth and raised without blankets.
In addition to hay beds and heat lamps, Everitt also provides nightly wellness checks on her animals to ensure they are still comfortable once the sun goes down.
“Do they need it to survive? No, they don’t need it, they’ll survive without it, but they like it.”