As winter sets in, now is the perfect time to prepare yourself and your livestock for the months ahead. With some insights from the experts at Washington State University as well as Oregon State University, we’ve compiled a few things to consider as you get ready for the cold.
Check Your Pastures
If possible, do a final mowing of any mature plants. This can strengthen the roots and encourage late-season grass growth. Additionally, quickly tilling up the soil can distribute nutrients found in manure and help eliminate some parasites.
Walk Your Fence
Before the ground freezes over, check every fence post and line for stability and breaks. If you find anything that could get worse during a cold snap, fix it now. If you have an electric fence, look for any down wires and weeds that could ground the lines.
Protect Livestock from the Elements
Check your barns and stables for ventilation and leaks. You don’t want too much of either. If needed, give your livestock a three-sided shelter to hide from the wind. If you own equine, check our recent article that covers horse blankets, including how to properly fit your horse for blanketing.
Keep the Water Flowing
How much water do your animals need in the winter? Experts say that cattle need up to 14 gallons a day, horses need upwards of 10 gallons, and sheep need three gallons. That’s why it’s important that you check every pipe, connection, and trough for cracks or other damage before it gets cold. Install frost-free faucets if necessary, and be sure you have your tank heaters installed or ready to go. The last thing you want to do is spend an hour or more chipping away ice so your livestock can get a drink.
Control the Mud
Depending on where you live, mud can be a serious concern for hoof care and other issues. Adding gravel, sand, or woodchips to feeding and watering areas can help cut down on mud. You may need to add more gravel if the mud worsens.
Stock up on Feed
To maintain their body temperature during the winter, livestock need to take in a lot of energy. You’ll find bags of feed and other nutrients to keep your livestock healthy this winter at your nearby Coastal. Stop by and tell us how many animals you’ll be feeding and we’ll help you work out the math.
Call Your Vet
Go over your emergency and precautionary protocols with your veterinarian, including vaccinations, deworming programs, and contact information. Being prepared for anything can help minimize stress for you and your animals during the oncoming, colder months.
Be Winter Ready at Coastal
Stop by your Northwest owned and operated Coastal where you’ll find feed, horse blankets, stock tank heaters, vaccinations, and plenty of helpful advice. Plus we have everything you need to get yourself ready for winter, including workwear, boots, and a full line of outdoor gear.