Maximising Safety of Livestock During Bushfire Season
In the midst of the one of the most catastrophic bushfire seasons on record, Australians across the nation are losing their homes and communities are being disastrously affected. Animals and livestock are especially susceptible to the fires – at the time of writing, more than a billion animals are thought to have perished. While bushfires take a lot of control out of humans’ hands, there are still precautions and actions you should take to maximise the safety of your livestock. Doing so will offer them the best chance for survival.
Before the Bushfire Hits
While millions of hectares are already scorched, many more agricultural areas remain unburnt, though at high risk. Before bushfires reach you, it is critical to take the following steps to give your livestock the best chance:
- Create one or more safe paddocks – these are paddocks which:
- Have water supplies that operate without electric pumps
- Are accessed easily with good fencing and ample space
- Are irrigated or hard grazed, thus decreasing fuel for the fire
- Aren’t bordered by vegetation, haystacks or trees
- Relocate livestock to lower risk areas – you might consider this for horses are other special animals. Because this relocation might involve moving animals to another town or somewhere else geographically removed, this is probably unfeasible for herds of livestock. Create an emergency kit that can go with the animals. Plan as best you can for the possibility of power cuts’ effects on water and food.
- Prepare and practice a complete plan for when the fire hits, including communications and alternative routes to paddocks for relocation
On High Risk Days
You must not hesitate to enact your plan when the time comes. Know what events’ occurring will force you to act.
- Initiate your bushfire survival plan, if an earlier high-risk day has not already caused you to do so
- Only transport your livestock if there is sufficient time to do so – although it can be hard to leave them, your safety is the priority
- Stay alert as to the fire’s progression
- When safe to return, assess your animals for any injuries or burns
- Seek advice from a vet – it might be necessary to euthanise injured livestock
- Organise contingencies for water, feed, etc. if power supplies have been cut
- Keep a close eye on surviving animals for a few days and monitor any changes
- Promptly dispose of deceased livestock in an environmentally conscientious way
- Reach out to your state’s animal and agricultural services for advice or aid
Australian bushfire seasons are increasing in severity, so it’s only becoming more critical to take the necessary steps to offer protection to your livestock and property. Continue to review and revise your bushfire survival plan and amend it as your conditions change. Build paddocks with top grade materials and ensure they are free of combustibles to maximise safety. For more information on the construction of safe paddocks, reach out to the team at Steel Supplies Charters Towers.