Winter seems to be starting early this year. As snow begins appearing in the forecast and the temperatures begin dipping down, it is time to start preparing your outside pets for winter. The Dairy Herd Management team offers 5 key steps for preparing for winter on their website dairymanagement.com.
Those steps include:
- Stock up on bedding
- Stock up on food
- Prepare shelter
- Ensure water access
- Get yourself ready
Currently there is no snow on the ground so pasturing is still a possibility, but once the snow hits, it can stick around for many long months. Now is the time to make sure that you are stocked up on feed to keep your livestock healthy throughout the winter.
Once the snow hits, bedding also becomes important. Having a shelter that allows animals like horses and goats to get out of the extreme winter weather (driving winds, snow, rain, etc.) helps them stay healthy while conserving energy. Adding a layer of straw bedding to those shelters will also offer your livestock a place to lie down that is warmer and out of the snow.
Access to quality water is another tricky venture for those raising and maintaining livestock through the long winter months. If electrical supply is available near the pasture, then consider adding a tank heater to your water troughs; these heaters will keep the water from freezing in the frigid temperature, giving your livestock 24 hour access to water.
Now is also a good time to check over your fencing and replace any failing posts before the ground freezes, making fence work downright miserable. Speaking from personal experience, I feel that there is little worse than having to chase down wayward livestock and mend fences knee deep in a snow drift in the middle of a snowstorm.
Finally, and most importantly, prepare yourself and your family for winter. Making sure that everyone has adequate clothing will help you stay warm and healthy while caring for your animals outside.