Five Steps to Winter Farm Prep

Five Steps to Winter Farm Prep

Here are five tips to help you prepare for winter:

  1. Stock up on bedding. Make sure you have plenty of bedding available to keep your animals warm and cozy through the winter months. At the very least, you’ll want to ensure you have access to an adequate supply. It takes more bedding for an animal to maintain its body temperature in cold weather. To keep bedding dry, you might want to consider adding a layer of sawdust or sand underneath to help absorb moisture. While this will help absorb moisture, you will still have to keep bedding dry – it may require frequent cleaning.
  2. Keep enough feed on hand. As the weather cools down, animals’ nutrition requirements go up. 20 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit is the lowest critical temperature livestock can tolerate without additional energy demands to support their normal body temperature. For animals beyond weaning, feeding more grain, hay and forages can provide them with the additional calories they need to thrive.
  3. Prepare shelter. Having shelter ready for your animals when winter hits will help minimize stress and ease the transition. Take time to look the buildings and shelter over and make any necessary repairs – leaky roofs, cracked windows, broken doors, etc.
  4. Ensure water access. If you have heated waterers, make sure to turn them on and double check that they still work properly. If you don’t have heated waterers, you can use heated water buckets or water heaters to keep water from freezing. Take extra safety precaution when using heating elements or heated water buckets. Both require electrical cords, which are important to keep out of animal’s reach and out of the elements if possible.
  5. Get yourself ready. Just as winter can be a difficult season for animals, it can also be a more challenging season for you. Take an inventory of your winter clothing supplies to make sure you have enough warm clothes on hand.

Make sure you and your animals have the right environment as described above so you and they don’t suffer with bad weather. By preparing yourself for winter, you’ll be ready to give your animals the best possible care, no matter what Mother Nature throws your way

Progressive Dairyman, November 2017.

Tags: Management Tips