It is time to keep warm and secure from the biting cold that winter has arrived, but this also applies to your cattle! Cold temperatures might harm your cattle. Their health may suffer as a result, and they may struggle to maintain appropriate milk production. Cold weather can cause physical and psychological stress in animals because it makes it difficult for them to complete their daily tasks. However, your animals can be happy and healthy with the proper winter care practices. Here are some winter cattle care suggestions to keep in mind:
Always keep water on hand.
During the winter, cattle frequently struggle to acquire adequate water. Snow, ice, or sludge can block water sources. Veterinarians for large and small animals say cattle need 1 to 2 gallons of water per 100 pounds daily. As a result, water is a valuable resource in any weather condition, winter or not. New livestock management may believe that cattle can eat snow or lick ice to attain their regular weight limit, but this is not true. It would take hours to do so and would reroute valuable body heat, leaving little time or energy to feed and grow.
Because dehydrated calves are more susceptible to colic and impaction, it is critical to manage their water intake and keep them healthy. The most straightforward option is to put tank heaters in their water sources. To avoid unintended shocks or fires, always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you can’t use a heater, ensure unfrozen water is available numerous times per day and in multiple locations.
Ensure that the cattle are well-fed.
Do cows get cold? They do if they aren’t properly fed! That is why it is critical to give more detail on food delivery during cold weather. They can’t generate enough body heat if they don’t have enough energy. Therefore their core temperature decreases, and they die.
There are several ways to keep your cattle nourished and happy during the winter. The simplest but frequently most expensive approach is to switch to a nutrient-rich feed. These premium feeds provide assured nutrients, including fat and protein, but can wreak havoc on your operation’s revenues.
Provide adequate shelter.
Life on the farm is usually very wonderful. There’s lots of food and space, but getting to safety takes precedence when a winter storm hits. Cattle without it may get concerned about their well-being and panic.
Providing adequate protection for grazing cattle during cold weather is vital, and it can even save your feed expenditures, as chilled livestock have higher energy requirements. There are numerous ways to provide shelter. Three-sided sheds strategically positioned around your pastures will allow cattle to escape inclement weather. Windbreaks can also be created by hills, gullies, dense forests, and shelterbelts.
Stay away from the mud.
The winter muck affects animals in two ways. For starters, muck is an ideal breeding ground for foot rot and thrush. Second, even if the mud is only on their legs, it might be difficult for calves to stay warm when caked in it.
Address your mud problem in the winter by spreading gravel or wood chips to muddy spots. Rotational grazing may also be beneficial in reducing the likelihood of an overgrazed pasture turning to muck. Your electric fencing can also allow muddy areas to dry out.
Help pregnant cattle.
Throughout the winter, pregnant heifers should be closely observed. Please consult your specialist on veterianry care for pigs and sheeps or cow about any particular immunizations they may require to stay healthy over the winter, such as nutritional supplements and deworming.
Separating pregnant cows into paddocks for close observation is always beneficial. This enables you to supply them with adequate diet, water, and shelter. It also keeps them close as their due date approaches. This permits you to be present and well-equipped to assist with the delivery.
To Wrap It Up
Aside from the items listed above, you may make your animals more comfortable by calming milking cows with udder lotions and ointments, providing enough straw and hay to lay on and produce warmth, and extending their resting space. Though the winter months might be difficult for your cattle, following these guidelines will ensure that they are adequately cared for and happy.