Farmers fighting cold weather to keep livestock safe - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Farmers fighting cold weather to keep livestock safe

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MT. VERNON (KWWL) -

The frigid temperatures across eastern Iowa have farmers like Bill Ellison spending extra time caring for their livestock.

He says getting his animals fresh water is not easy because creeks and pipes are frozen.

Ellison is a farmer at Pavelka's Point pork, lamb and beef farm near Mount Vernon, and caring for his livestock in the cold is a challenge.

"I try to do the best I can to keep everybody bedded and fed," said Ellison. "Water is real important in the wintertime."

Ellison's farm partner Lois Pavelka says water is vital in the cold weather for livestock. Because they burn a lot more calories to keep warm, they also need a lot more water when it is colder out.

"Not only do we have to provide protection and wind break for them, especially cows, but it's the water situation that's becoming so critical," said Pavelka.

Pavelka says it won't be until April when some of their underground pipes completely thaw out.

The creeks that normally provide fresh water for their cattle is frozen, so Ellison drilled a hole in it so the cattle can get the fresh water they need.

"They can dehydrate. The worst thing that can happen is they'll die," said Ellison. "Make sure they're warm. It's just like people -- you put an extra blanket on your bed when it's cold. They need to be kept just like you like to be."

Providing warmth for their pork and beef is also important, so they've added straw for deep bedding.

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