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Be Sure to Protect Livestock, Pets in Cold Weather
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/12/2016

Wisconsin's top humane officer cautions both livestock and pet owners to take care of their animals in the frigid weather. Dr. Yvonne Bellay of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture's animal health division says forecasts are calling for even more frigid temperatures for the remainder of the week.

"Livestock owners need to provide extra nutrition, plenty of good bedding, and protection from winds and moisture," Dr. Bellay says. "And you need to have healthy animals going into winter. Look for early signs of disease and for parasites. Calves often have undetected pneumonia that kills quickly when the temperature drops."

She advises livestock owners to provide good shelter in order to get their animals out of the wind, even if it is just a windbreak or a three-sided structure.

The amount of feed provides should also be increased as animals need more energy when the temps are colder. As a general rule, nutrient requirements increase about one percent for every degree that the temperature falls below 20 degrees F. Horses' nutrition requirements increase below 45 degrees F.

Also, be sure to keep fresh water access. Stock tank heaters and frost-proof waterers will ensure than livestock get enough to drink.

And lastly, when hauling animals, especially calves and swine, cover openings in the vehicle box to cut wind chill and keep rain out, but allow some air to pass over the animals for ventilation. Provide a deep bed of dry straw for calves younger than 4 weeks or for any swine. Be especially careful with animals recently brought in from warmer climates that may not be acclimated.

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