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Preparing Livestock for the Coming Winter

The winter season can pose a lot of problems for farmers. If the ground is not covered by snow, it is often frozen solid. Forage supplies begin to shrink and water tanks may freeze. Facing these problems unprepared is a recipe for disaster. It’s important, therefore, to take some precautions so that the seasons turning doesn’t turn from an annoyance to a disaster.

What’s most important is to first monitor your livestock. Forage is important, but if there’s nothing to feed it to, what’s the point? Make sure to confirm that your livestock are in good health and have the proper vaccinations before winter begins. The extreme conditions of the winter can take a toll on livestock, even if they may seem to be in good health. It’s important to monitor all livestock’s health. Even an ostensibly healthy animal can be hit hard. Moreover, for animals that grow a winter coat, it’s important to keep track of its growth progress. If it is not growing fast enough, it is important to provide some other warming mechanism (a blanket or a heater) to compensate. If the winter coat is growing at a normal clip, however, this is not necessary.

Also, forage must be taken care of as well. For one, it is important to store forage in preparation for winter as early as possible. When it comes to storing forage, it is first of all important to understand that the amount of forage one needs to feed livestock differs during hot months and cold months. Livestock require more forage during the winter than they would in fall, spring or summer months, so it is important to take this into account when storing forage in preparation for the winter. Hay is not the only type of forage you need, though. What is very important is to have ample fiber in stock. Fiber plays a vital role in keeping livestock warm during the winter. So it’s best to have hay for nutritional purposes supplemented with fiber to help keep the livestock warm.

Lastly, it is important to keep livestock hydrated. Dehydration in and of itself is dangerous. What’s worse is that there is less available water. Therefore, one may need to monitor livestock’s drinking habits more closely to make sure water is usually more efficiently.

In the end, in order to curb the potential negatives of winter, it is important to store extra forage, use fiber to supplement livestock feed and pay extra attention to livestock’s health and hydration.

Posted By: The Hay Manager

Posted on: 08/16/2017
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