To keep your livestock safe in winter, a reliable water source and windbreak or a way to avoid cold winds should top your list
If you experience sub-zero temperatures where you live, it is essential that you take extra care to keep your livestock safe and healthy.
- Providing animals with more food than usual (include extra roughage to get them through the cold nights).
- Ensuring an adequate and dependable water source. (Guard against frozen pipes!). Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal to protect the animal’s tongue.
- Keep pets and smaller animals indoors when the temperature drops below freezing.
- Keep de-icing products and other winter chemicals away from animals; clean contaminated paws as needed.
- Consider a wind- or water- proof blanket for horses who live outdoors full-time; smaller livestock, such as goats, may also benefit from a blanket or coat.
- Provide a windbreak for animals that stay in a field or pasture.
A windbreak can be a large portion of brush, a heavy board or piece of canvas secured over a fence, or a manmade shelter – something they can get behind to guard themselves from bitter cold blasts of air.
Be sure to talk to a veterinarian, local university extension agent or experienced livestock owner for advice specific to your area and weather conditions.