How to Protect Your Livestock During the Extreme Cold

by Caitlyn Andrews January 29, 2019

How to care for livestock in extreme cold

Many of us in the United States are bracing ourselves for record cold temperatures this week.

Small animal owners are warned to keep their pets indoors during subzero temperatures, but severe wind and cold present different challenges for livestock owners. You can't fit your cattle or horses in the living room to hang out on the couch and wait out the winter storm with you.

While some livestock have the luxury of living in temperature controlled environments, this is isn't the case for every farm. 

Here are three key areas to focus on for those of you that are braving the cold this week to care for your animals outside:

1. Shelter

If at all possible, bring animals into an indoor shelter during the extreme weather. At the very least, make sure livestock have access to a windbreak or three-sided shelter. Stock up on fresh bedding or straw to insulate the area and keep the animals off of the ice and mud. If you know that a winter storm is on the way then move your animals to shelter as soon as possible.

2. Food

Animals need extra food during extreme cold temperatures to keep them warm. Provide plenty of quality hay or feed that's easily accessible. If you have mechanized feeders, then you should be prepared to feed your animals if the weather or power outages prevent the feeders from working properly.

3. Water

Never assume that your livestock will eat snow or ice to stay hydrated. Use heated tanks, buckets, or water heaters to keep the water supply from freezing over. If you don't have any of these, then you will need to manually fill water buckets or tanks throughout the day.

Additional resources

Be careful if you have to expose yourself to the frigid temperatures and be on the lookout for signs of frostbite or hypothermia. Click here for More Tips to Protect Livestock During Extreme Weather

Caitlyn Andrews
Caitlyn Andrews


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