Keeping Livestock Warm during the Arctic Blast

This year, winter is making an appearance across the United States. The National Weather Service has been busy releasing advisories and warnings over areas of the U.S. from the Plains and Midwest to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

Everyone is getting a taste of winter's strength with snow, below freezing temperatures and bitter wind chills. This includes our precious livestock. "We want to remind livestock producers to take proper precautions to keep their animals safe during periods of cold stress," said Jeff Lehmkuhler, University of Kentucky livestock specialist.

As the temperature drops, livestock tries to maintain its core body temperature by increasing metabolism that can produce greater heat production resulting in increased feed intake for more energy. When producers choose to change a livestock's diet, it needs to be gradual in order to avoid any digestive upsets. Clean water should also be provided to help with their feed intake. According to the University of Wisconsin extension, they recommend that water be above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and water intake varies based on the size of the animal, feed intake and production status. They have provided a chart to estimate water intake.

Proper shelter is also necessary to provide protection from the bitter cold wind and precipitation. If livestock need to be in the field, a portable or permanent windbreak is a great way to keep the livestock protected. If they don't need to be in the field, a barn with proper ventilation is where they should stay to keep warm. 

The hair coat on livestock needs to be maintained as it acts as insulation similar to home attic insulation that traps air which enhances the insulating value. That's why managing moisture and mud on livestock's coat is crucial during the winter. Moisture combined with the bitter cold temperatures can be deadly, particularly for newborn livestock. If livestock gets wet, freezing and frostbite come into play. It's important to keep their coats also free of mud.Mud on livestock's coats can cause diseases such as foot rot and thrush and give parasites an area to live.

Producers are hoping for expected relief from the frigid temperatures soon. In the meantime, keeping the livestock warm, so they can continue being productive, is the number one priority.

related topics:

Share This

Leave a comment

You may also like:

Women in Ag: Leaders in the Agricultural Industry

Women in agriculture are leaders in the agricultural industry and are paving the way for a better future in farming.

 
Shredded BBQ Beef Sandwich Recipe

This slow cooker recipe from The Cooking Ladies...

 
Determining Your Farm’s Horsepower Needs

The way to make the right tractor-buying decision for your farm operation is to...

 
Celebrating 150 Years on the Ranch

General Manager of Stuart Ranch in Oklahoma and the first female President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, Terry...

 
The Impact of Agritourism on Rural Communities

In honor of National Travel and Tourism Week we're shining a spotlight on how rural tourism has a big impact on farm families.

 
10 Attributes of Being a Servant Leader

Servant leaders recognize the needs that others have and then get to work on those needs...

 
Drones in Ag

Interested in exploring drone technology? Desirae has four pieces of advice for you...

 
Reap What You Sow

Take corrective action with a family employee who shows up late and disrespects non-family employees…

 
“May I Speak to the Farmer??”

Have you heard this question before? Have you struggled with your response? Kate offers her perspective, "I Choose Grace"

 
Heavy Equipment Program: Hands On Learning

Female role models can make a big difference in encouraging female students to consider engineering technology careers