Winter reminders for livestock and animals, or another type of Pennsylvania Polka

...and on the eighth day God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, graze, gallop, play and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.

Happy New Year and a good 2014 to everyone. I hope your new year is peaceful and prosperous.

Now is a good time to paste-worm our equine buddies, since any hibernating parasites are covered beneath a layer of thick snow and ice. You can mark the calendar to keep track of the date, so you know when to de-worm again, in 3 to 4 months from now.

Remember to rotate the types of wormer; there are pastes, gels and feed-through pellets in a variety of forms.

Ivermectin is still non-resistant, and you can rotate it with Pyrantel Pamoate or Fenbendazole. There is the added Praziquantel, also.

"Equi-bits," by Safe-Guard is a Fenbendazole feed-through pellet, and there are also products labeled "Power Dose."

It does no good to buy expensive feed, grain or hay if the animal is infested with parasites.

Animals are more tolerant of the cold when they have good parasite control.

All animals must have adequate shelter large enough to get inside out of the elements, and to be able to turn around and stay dry. This is the PA Anti-Cruelty Law requirement.

Barn cats can go into lofts of hay to get out of the weather. They make hay nests and snuggle together to stay warm. Outside dogs should have a burlap curtain secured over shelter openings, to keep rain and snow from coming inside, and there should be plenty of clean straw for them to make a nest. Their water bowls need changed twice a day, due to freezing temperatures.

Do this chore for them, please.

Remember to spay and neuter dogs and cats, as there is a horrible over-population of animals nationwide. Not spending the money to do this results in too many animals on the premises, and they just keep over-populating.

Owners of animal must watch budgets, and keep the number of livestock and animals within that budget. Quantity of animals is not as important as quality of care, and it is better to keep 1 healthy horse than 20 skinny, sickly ones.

It is a poor reflection of ownership when you are out spending money on beer, cigarettes or video games and your animals are huddled under a grove of trees, shivering or starving.

Signs that animals are cold are dull, lethargic actions, heads down and not moving around much.

Horses can wear blankets, and catalogs are helpful in determining the thickness of the denier.

Keep troughs and water buckets thawed. I still do not like submersible water heaters; I am doing the old Pennsylvania Wintertime Song and Dance a couple of times a day. Hopping on one foot while kicking ice out of buckets is never pretty, and I hope no one is looking, but my animal friends sure do appreciate my efforts. They neigh along in time with the hopping, and the crackling ice is the percussion section of the country band.

Remember, they like their drinks straight-up, not on the rocks.

Animal care requires that you pay attention to their actions and behavior. It requires spending time with them and taking appropriate action and calling a Veterinarian, if necessary.

You have a nice, warm bed to sleep in every night. You have hot food and fresh water to drink every day. Please do the same for your animal friends.

So long until next week.

Leaving you to the shivery, yet immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, "Happy Trails to You."