Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tips For Keeping Livestock in Cold Weather

Ancient White Park cattle, photo by Cecilia Whitaker
Here are some quick tips for keeping livestock healthy and hardy in the abnormally cold weather plaguing many parts of the country.

  • Animals should have plenty of fresh water. Dehydration is a common problem in winter due to ice. Check several times a day to ensure water is not frozen and consider a water heater or some other option to keep water from freezing.
  • Ample food is necessary during the cold of winter. It enables animals to produce energy in the form of body heat.
  • Make sure animals needing shelter have access to clean, dry living spaces. Many breeds can cope with weather extremes so long as they can be dry. The health of animals housed indoors can suffer if bedding becomes too soiled with ammonia and fecal build-up.
  • Even the hardiest animals should have access to a windbreak. High winds can create bitter cold that can be dangerous for livestock.
  • For some livestock, (such as horses or youngsters born out of season) you may consider a waterproof, insulated blanket.
  • Keep de-icers and other chemicals away from livestock. They can be toxic if ingested and can cause irritation if they come into contact with feet.

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