Livestock Winter Safety
January 10, 2021
When it comes to the cold winter weather, there are plenty of articles and videos out there detailing winter pet safety. However, when it comes to your livestock, they have their own considerations and needs for when the winter weather hits.

Here are some winter weather livestock safety tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association:

Recognize the importance of early veterinary care. Schedule your veterinary exams early on in the season to address any concerns before the harsh conditions arrive. Discuss any vaccinations, nutritional supplementation, deworming, and parasite treatment needs with your vet. Make sure to pay special attention to pregnant animals and animals of very young or very old age.

Provide appropriate shelter from the elements. Livestock can typically tolerate colder temperatures, but harsher temperatures will require more calories. Keeping this in mind, try to shelter any livestock from the weather with blankets or coats, dry bedding, and a shelter with proper ventilation.

Keep the Area Clear. Keep ice to a minimum to prevent injury to your livestock. Clear any driveways and walkways of snow and ice so that your staff and vets can access your animals easier. Prevent mud and buildup with proper preparation through use of materials such as sand, woodchips, and gravel.

Consider Your Feed. Livestock use a large amount of energy to keep warm in the winter. This means they need to consume plenty of calories. Talk with your vet to develop a plan that will meet the needs of your livestock, this may mean increasing the amount or quality of your feed. Keep in mind that pregnant animals and those of very young or old age will have additional needs you should address.

Ensure fresh, clean, non-frozen water. Make sure that your livestock have access to clean, non-frozen water by using tank heaters or heated buckets. Livestock will not consume enough water if it is too cold or frozen. When your livestock are well hydrated, they are more likely to sustain their health and well being in the winter months.