happy and healthy cows in winter

Six Essentials to Keep Cattle Healthy & Happy through Winter

In a previous article, we discussed some great all-purpose advice on how to protect and maintain healthy cattle, but with winter almost upon us, it’s important to get ready your livestock ready to push through the cold.

While an obvious statement, there are a lot of considerations that come as an afterthought when designing a space for your cattle to roam and graze. When you’re designing a new cattle shed or updating an existing one, it’s important that your design takes into account the local area’s winter climate.

  1. Roofing

If you’re a local to Charters Towers, you know you’re going to profit from a lot more rainfall than farmers further inland, so focusing on appropriate roofing should be your top priority.

By selecting quality materials like steel, you’ll have more flexibility with the angle of your roof which will help to offset the load-bearing on it. This allows for better runoff into storage tanks. Bovine Respiratory Disease is one of the key causes of agricultural loss and depending on the pathogens involved, the illness can kill cattle as soon as 24 hours after displaying symptoms, so it’s important to keep them dry.

  1. Gutters

If you are further inland, say in Cloncurry, you’re going to have a completely different experience, given the arid dryness of winter. It’s important if you’re in this situation to match the needs of your farm to the needs of maximising your water storage by ensuring that water flows properly down your roof, into gutters and then into underground tanks to prevent evaporation.

If you also have solar panels on your roofing, it’s important to follow guidelines by the Solar Energies Industries Association to make sure your solar panels aren’t getting disrupted by dust or dirt.

  1. Shelter

Cow and bull coats naturally retain heat, so the key concern for a farmer has it to ensure your herd has a strong, dry structure to reside in. Roofs and gutters are only part of the picture in keeping your cattle safe and healthy, so a waterproof, secure structure is what you need to ensure their safety. We recommend using quality galvanised steel because of its anti-corrosive properties and high tensile strength, making it a perfect structural base for any building.

  1. Feed

What we didn’t mention before is that cows do still get cold, but this usually only happens when they don’t have access to the right amount of feed. Due to a surge in demand for access to “cleaner” grass-fed beef, it has become increasingly difficult to find substitutes for nutrient-dense grain feed in winter. There are clean ways of conducting this, however, by making sure the cows have access to open pastures when it’s dry, nutrient-dense concentrates and energy-rich hay during the rain.

  1. Water Access

This one’s a no-brainer. Your cows are obviously going to need water but ensuring the how is the more difficult part. Beef magazine provides a comprehensive guide listing the impacts of stresses cows undergo with dramatic changes in temperature. But regardless of the continent or climate, the consistent need to keep cows healthy comes down to one thing, water. Ensuring you have a large deposit of water with the right delivery system in the summer and winter is crucial, which requires well-outfitted piping comprised of galvanised steel as a general rule of thumb.

  1. Taking Animal Biosecurity Measures

While COVID-19 is over for some, it doesn’t mean that you or your cattle are out of the woods. As we’ve previously covered, the best way to ensure your cattle’s health is by making sure you’re healthy too. Ensure you and your workers keep updated with vaccinations and are regularly washing your hands.

If you’re in need of an update to your cattle shed this winter, don’t hesitate to get in contact with our experts.

Image source: Shutterstock (1714518208)