Helping Livestock Cope with Winter Weather
While we have been graced with warmer temperatures so far this season, the colder winter weather has arrived. During winter months, animals can suffer from hypothermia, frostbite and other cold weather injuries. Harsh conditions can also weaken their immune systems and open the door to illness.
As Ohio sees continued frigid temperatures this week, it’s important for producers to be aware of the extra precautions they can take to keep their animals protected from extreme outdoor conditions.
Producers should keep these tips in mind during harsh, cold weather:
- Make sure animals have a place to get out of the wind. Livestock won’t want to stay inside all the time, but a windbreak or a three-sided shed or barn will help keep them protected from the worst weather.
- Be sure to provide clean, dry bedding to insulate them from the cold ground and protect them from frostbite.
- Using a feeding pad can reduce mud and the chances of livestock standing in cold, muddy conditions for too long.
- Livestock also need plenty of food because animals burn extra calories to keep warm in severe cold.
- Animals need access to fresh water, not just frozen streams or snow. A heated livestock tank/waterer, or another frost-proof watering device will ensure that livestock get enough to drink.
- It’s also important to remember pets as well during these cold spells; pet owners should send their animals indoors.
Ohio State is a great resource for additional information on winter care for animals. For more information, visit: http://cfaes.osu.edu/news/articles/testing-livestock-forage-and-feed-samples-colder-weather-animal-care.