Seventeen-year-old Cassie McConkey already has a lot a responsibility.
She and her father head out to their family barn every morning before she heads off to high school to feed and water their sheep, horses and pigs. But freezing temperatures mean longer and more difficult days as they try to keep their animals healthy during the cold snap.
"Now you have to come in the morning, after school, [and] at night multiple times. Especially now because the temperatures dropped even more," said McConkey.
Farmers and those who care for livestock have an extra challenge on their hands when temperatures sink into the teens and single digits. Certain kinds of livestock are in danger of freezing to death if not properly cared for, according to UT Agricultural Extension Agent John Goddard.
"When it's below freezing any animal is uncomfortable," said Goddard. "But number one to worry about is ruminant animals, like horses, goats, and sheep."
Ruminant animals digest food in multiple steps and microbes in their stomach generate body heat during the process. Goddard says that means it's essential to provide livestock with extra hay in cold weather so they generate enough heat to keep warm.
"They're going to eat twice as much on a cold night as they would a milder night," said Goddard.
Another challenge is keeping fresh water supplies free of ice. McConkey says that will require multiple late-night trips to the barn.
Goddard warns frozen ponds pose risks to livestock as well, because animals in search of water will walk out onto ice.
Goddard's daughter, 22-year-old Greer Goddard, spent the overnight hours Thursday tending to a newborn baby lamb.
"We are right in the middle of lambing and calving right now," said Greer. "Any newborn animal, this is extremely difficult for them."
Despite bringing the newborn lamb into her house, Greer says the baby didn't make it. She cautions owners to make sure any animals born during in cold weather are immediately dried off and sheltered. She says they plan to take extra precautions Friday night by setting out additional heaters and heat lamps.
"You also have to be careful," said Greer. "There's always the risk of fire."