Intense cold weather can make it hard for your cattle to stay healthy, especially if left unattended. They may have trouble putting on weight or maintaining their milk production. Moreover, cold weather can leave the cattle stressed as they struggle to go about their normal activities.
Fortunately, there are many ways to keep your livestock happy and healthy despite the harsh cold weather. By making sure that they are healthy, they produce more for the farm or ranch. From ensuring Wheat Varieties for their feed to keeping them warm, there are many tasks that you need to do as a livestock manager.
Here are some tips to keep your cattle healthy and happy during the winter.
Ensure Regular Water Source
Cattle often struggle to get enough water intake during the winter. The reason is that water sources freeze or are challenging to get because of ice, snow, or mud. Regardless of the weather, your cattle need 1 to 2 gallons of water per pound of weight.
Some livestock managers may assume that the cattle can eat snow to fulfill the requirements. But that’s not the case, as this leads to loss of valuable body heat and disrupts growth. Dehydration can increase their risk of colic and impaction. The best solution is to install tank heaters in their water sources to ensure water supply.
Keep Cattle Well Fed
If your cattle are not fed well, they get cold easily. Without adequate energy, the cattle cannot generate enough body heat which can even lead to death in severe cases. That is why it is important to maximize food delivery during cold weather.
There are many options to keep your cattle well-fed. Switch to a feed that offers abundant nutrients including protein and fats. Another option is to offer hay to your cattle in hay feeders or other similar shelters to make sure that there are enough feeders for all your cattle.
Provide Proper Shelter
During winter, a storm can destroy the field and disrupt your cattle. You need to ensure proper shelter for safety purposes. Adequate shelter is necessary to reduce feed costs as well as cold livestock will need more energy requirements.
You can provide shelter in a variety of ways like you can place three-sided sheds placed throughout the pastures. As options include hills, gullies and thickets of trees, they can also save the cattle from harsh cold weather. Look out for the weather forecast to check when the winter storm is coming. It’s best to keep cattle near the barn or the shelter during the storm.
Winter mud can make the cattle uncomfortable. Mud forms a perfect breeding ground for foot rot and thrush. It can be challenging for cattle to stay warm when their feet are covered in mud.
To make sure that the cattle are warm and comfortable, address the mud issue by adding gravel woody chips to muddy areas. Another way is to benefit from rational grazing to avoid the chances of overgrazed pasture turning into mud.