Tips for Caring for Farm Animals During the Winter

January 23, 2019 7:54 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Even the hardiest livestock can find the winter months to be especially challenging. Farm animals face a number of issues during the winter, ranging from digestive differences to exposure to ice and cold. If you have livestock, you may be wondering what steps you can take to keep your investment safe during the winter months. Whether you have a couple of goats or several hundred heads of cattle, working with a large animal vet in Bolivar, MO, is an excellent way to ensure that your animals are kept safe and sound, even during low temperatures and adverse weather events.

While every type of animal does require some degree of specialized care, especially during extreme weather events, it’s important to realize that there are a number of considerations that are universally applicable to livestock animals. Here are just a few ways that you can keep your farm animals safe and healthy during the wintertime:

  • Fresh, flowing water: As in any season, it’s exceptionally important to keep your farm animals well hydrated at all times throughout the winter months. Consider investing in a tank heater to keep their water flowing; if you don’t have a tank heater, break up potential ice formations at least twice a day so that your animals have continuous access to unfrozen water.
  • Feed and hay: Many animals generate body heat by digesting long-stem hay. You should adjust your feeding mix accordingly during the winter months. Additionally, any animals that are old, sick or pregnant will need extra food during the winter. Weight loss during the wintertime is common, and it’s important to help your livestock bulk up as much as possible.
  • Keep a salt block on-hand: You should have a salt block where your livestock can easily access it at all times during the winter. Salt blocks help ensure that your animals are consuming the minerals they need and that they’re drinking consistently. Keep salt blocks that contain copper away from sheep, however.
  • Offer clean, warm shelter: Your livestock need a shelter that is consistently dry and well ventilated, but not drafty. When animals are dry, the winter months are substantially easier on them. Generally speaking, cold temperatures only pose a risk when the animals are exposed to excessive moisture.
  • Provide coats and blankets: Provide clean blankets all throughout the shelter area for your animals to bundle up in and under. Change the blankets regularly to prevent them from becoming soiled and wet. Some animals, particularly those that are elderly, may need to have a coat fastened to them. This can help animals that are underweight or ill to stave off cold.

Animal Care Clinic of Bolivar is a trusted large animal vet in Bolivar, MO. We’ve been providing quality veterinary care for pets and livestock since 1972. To learn more about our comprehensive approach to animal health, or to learn about ways that we can help you prepare your livestock for the winter months, please reach out to one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives today.

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