Farmers know that each season brings unique challenges. Winter can be a difficult time for agricultural practices, requiring plenty of preparation and thinking ahead to protect the farm. Livestock face several winter health hazards. The first step toward protecting your herd is determining what the most important dangers are during winter.
Winter Cattle Hazards
Between snow, freezing temperatures, and storms, winter creates several hazards and temperature risks.
Lack of Shelter
Shelter is beneficial to cattle year-round, but it’s an absolute necessity to prevent danger in the winter. A lack of shelter can be fatal during the snowy season. Young livestock can get lost under piles of snow, and all cattle are at an increased risk for health issues when exposed to storms, freezing temperatures, and icy conditions outdoors.
Cattle need access to plenty of fresh water year-round, but this is especially important in the winter months. Since their metabolic rate increases to help keep them warm, cattle need to take in more water during the winter. Water sources can easily freeze in the winter, making it difficult for cattle to get the amount of water they need.
Cattle temperature risks include a wide range of potential health problems. Sudden changes in temperature and extreme cold weather can have a negative impact on cattle health, leading to the development of conditions like hypothermia, frostbite, respiratory ailments, and damage to the hooves.
Another source of winter cattle hazards is bedding. When cattle are inside for increased periods during winter, there is more soiled bedding to deal with. The ammonia in this material can quickly build up and cause respiratory irritation or the development of pneumonia.
Prevent Cattle Dangers in Winter
The first step to dealing with winter risks for livestock is identifying the most common cattle dangers in winter. The next, and most important, step is taking preventative action to protect your herd in the first place.
This is one of the simplest ways to prevent winter cattle hazards. Make sure your herd has shelter available, especially when winter storms hit and during periods of extreme cold. Keeping them warm and dry prevents many temperature risks.
Since one of the main dangers in winter is a variety of health conditions, it’s important to closely monitor the health of your herd. Look out for warning signs of illness, like shivering, difficulty breathing, and injured hooves.
Making sure your cattle have access to clean, fresh water that doesn’t freeze over starts with a great watering system. You can rely on Ritchie Drinking Systems from Carlson Wholesale to provide your livestock with water all winter long. We can also advise you on winterizing your watering system.
With the issues that soiled bedding and increased time indoors can cause during the winter, it’s important to pay attention to air quality. Carlson Wholesale has several air quality solutions, including industrial ceiling fans and turbines to increase ventilation.