Page last updated at 20:17 GMT, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Animals affected by cold weather

Frozen trough
Cold weather froze troughs and water supply pipes

Livestock and rare birds have been affected by snow and cold weather in Devon and Cornwall, animal groups and farmers say.

The weather has meant farmers dealing with frozen troughs and supply pipes to ensure animals got fresh water.

The RSPB said some rare birds reintroduced to the counties were at risk, including cirl buntings.

The bird charity said it was asking members of the public and farmers to put out food and water for them.

Temperatures plunged to -9C (16F) in parts of Devon and Cornwall on Monday night and were expected to reach -6C (21F) by Wednesday morning.

They may starve in this weather
Peter Exley, RSPB

Extra checks have had to be carried out on farms to ensure livestock are well.

They have included ensuring water gets to animals by breaking ice on troughs and either clearing water pipes or transporting water by other means.

Devon farmer Rob Taverner said: "The water that normally serves the chickens has completely frozen.

"We're having to get buckets and go to the river to get some fresh running water so the chickens get exactly what they need to lay eggs."

Rare birds which could be affected by the weather include cirl buntings, which were reintroduced to parts of Devon and Cornwall in 2006.

Peter Exley, from the RSPB, said: "They may starve in this weather and that's why we're implementing emergency feeding.

"We're asking volunteers and famers to put food out for the birds so they can survive this spell."

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