Bruce did not treat us well. I’m from Montana and I haven’t even seen a blizzard like that before! We got about 8 inches with some 3 foot snowdrifts. The animals definitely suffered from the wind the most.
The only thing I could do was to keep regularly throwing hay in for them. The way their shelters are oriented, the wind (30-40 mph sustained with 55 mph gusts) just blew in the north ends and out the south. A few hours into the blizzard, Hubby and me went out and took some hay bales into the sheep paddocks and stacked them two-high on the north ends of the shelters – just a small windbreak. If we stacked them any higher, the wind would knock them over.
The ewes figured it out pretty quick and crowded inside to draft off the bales. Mamma Rhea was giving me that bewildered look as if to say, “What is even happening?! I’m freezing to death!” They were covered in snow and ice from head to hoof, the wind having driven it deep into their fleece.
The rams were worse off. They had a huge drift forming outside the north side of their shelter, which was causing snow to blow inside their shelter over the top of their water tank. Their faces, ears, and scrotums were literally encased in ice and the rest of their bodies looked like giant snowballs. At several different points, they felt like standing outside, butt into the wind, was a better plan than drafting off of the hay bales.
The horse was encased in snow and ice (even with her blanket on) and shivering so bad that she was almost falling over. We took her up to the garage and tried to put her into a stall we had made inside, but she wouldn’t go for it. However, she was able to draft on the south end of the house for a while, and that warmed her up.
Ultimately, I felt like they would all die on Sunday, but somehow they lived. The wind was relentless. When I stood with my back into the wind, I felt like that must have been what it was like for people visiting the Arctic, with all that wind and snow obliterating the tundra… What a miserable place that must be.
Everyone was glad to stand or lay in the sun the next morning. I think they were all exhausted. The hay bales and the 300g blanket probably saved them. I really hope that’s the last blizzard – ever – or at least until the barn is up! If we had the barn, this would have been a non-issue. As it was, there was basically no shelter for any of them and it broke my heart to watch them suffer so much. I could tell they were cold and desperate for it to blow over.