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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

Residents are urged to take actions to protect their pipes, pets and livestock before the cold weather arrives. 

 
Pipes:
 
The water inside unprotected water pipes freezes whenever pipes are exposed to freezing temperatures for several hours. As water freezes it expands, which can cause your pipes to crack or split. When the frozen water thaws, the resulting water leak can cause substantial damage to your home.
 
Covering exposed pipes may protect them from freezing. Plumbing insulation and faucet covers are available at local hardware stores and some grocery stores. The insulation or covers are easy to install and should be fitted snugly over the pipes or faucet. 
 
If possible, leave your thermostat set near 50 degrees and open the cabinet doors under your sink to allow warm air to circulate around your pipes.
 
If your pipes do freeze, it may be best to call a plumber to check for damage to your pipes.
 
Pets and Livestock:
 
Hypothermia and dehydration are the two most probable life-threatening conditions for animals in cold weather. Access to drinking water is critical. Usual water sources may freeze solid in low temperatures and dehydration becomes life-threatening. Very young or older animals may be less able to tolerate temperature extremes and have weaker immune systems. 
 
Pets should be brought inside or into a protected covered area and provided with bedding, food, and water. Pet owners should check with their veterinarian or local humane society for more information.
 
Livestock should be provided wind-break and roof shelter and monitored for signs of discomfort (extensive shivering, weakness, lethargy, etc.). They should be provided extra hay/forage/feed as animals will need more calories to maintain body heat in extreme cold.
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