Preparing your Farm for the Cold Winter Season
Just like you, the cold weather also impacts your cattle. Cattle requirement proper farm management to aid in the maintenance of a cow’s body temperature. Harsh winter conditions can leave cattle struggling to put on weight or maintain regular milk production. On top of this, they can end up stressed as they struggle to go about daily activities – in turn affecting the meat they produce. However, winter doesn’t have to be so miserable as there are several ways to keep your livestock happy and healthy.
Well Fed Cattle
Cattle get cold when they aren’t adequately fed; therefore, it is crucial to maximise food delivery during those cold winter days. With the absence of sufficient energy, cattle immunity is challenged when generating body heat, resulting in a reduction of their core temperature. Unfortunately, this core temperature reduction puts the lives of livestock at high risk.
The most efficient way to combat this issue is switching to feed that includes increased nutrients. Premium feeds deliver guaranteed nutrients, including protein and fat. Another option is to eliminate waste as much as possible. Often farmers scatter feed hay throughout the ground and as a result large portion of this feed go uneaten. To prevent this from happening, depositing hay from a hay feeder can help with the issue of waste.
The provision of proper shelter for grazing cattle is critical and even has the potential to reduce the amount spent on feed. There is a wide range of options for choosing a sheltering method for your cattle. One option is a three-sided shed that can be placed throughout the pasture, allowing cattle to hide away from the cold. In addition, a quality cattle shed that will withstand strong winds will also aid in livestock survival. While all these efforts are necessary, paying close attention to weather forecasts is also essential. Staying up to date on any winter storms, strong winds, or high rainfall will help you identify and plan where your cattle should be located and understand their needs.
Maintaining a Clean Environment
As your cattle roam around during the winter, you will probably notice the amount of mud left throughout your property. Mud reduces the insulation factor in a cow’s hair coat, resulting in a lower critical temperature increase within cattle. When cows are clean and dry, their resistance increases, maintaining a low and less worrying critical temperature.
It’s essential to allow plenty of space to move feeding stations to limit the production of muddy areas. Better insulation of cattle hair is highly dependent on maintaining clean livestock.
Along with keeping your cattle safe you have to make sure you’re clean too. Often, animals can transfer diseases to humans which can cause distress. Known as zoonotic diseases, these are responsible for most epidemic and pandemic outbreaks. They cause long lasting symptoms and health consequences. To avoid this risk, vaccinate your workers and regularly sanitise yourself while maintaining a clean environment.
Breaking Routine Feeding
As the lives of farmers are busy, it is customary to follow a routine, specifically with the feeding of cattle. Therefore, it’s essential to pay close attention to the temperature and observe cattle closely. If the temperature is known to be cold for the upcoming next days, increasing the feed 24 hours in advance will allow cattle a head start for the cold days to come.
After assessing the needs of your farm, we recommend you ask for the advice of a local expert such as Steel Supplies Charters Towers are experts in creating safe shelters for your cattle. A local supplier will have a specialised understanding of your local climate, your operations and how to tailor the best advice for your operations.
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