Across the U.S. this year we’ve seen a mixed bag of weather conditions that are challenging livestock production in numerous ways. Fires, floods, snowstorms, drought and tornadoes are wreaking havoc over different parts of the country, and creating different types of disaster situations that producers and veterinarians are having to cope with.

There are some excellent resources available, however. Many state Extension agencies through the EDEN (Extension Disaster Education Network) have information on caring for livestock during and after disasters. Contact your state Extension office for more information on disaster information in your state.

This fact sheet from Colorado State University EDEN agents Tom McBride and Scott Cotton gives excellent recommendations for handling livestock in disasters.

They note that during times of disaster/stress:

  • Adrenalin, panic and confusion affect both humans and animals.
  • The survival instincts of livestock can make normal handling techniques ineffective.
  • The proper disaster management approach needs to vary with each type of disaster.
  • Livestock management priorities during a disaster should focus on immediate safety

Click on these links for:

Flooding and cattle health

Drought and cattle health

Post-storm risks to cattle

Blizzards and feedyard management

After a dairy fire

Feedlot heat stress

Additional resources:
An online Livestock in Disasters course by the Federal Emergency Management Agency has comprehensive information for dealing with livestock in a variety of disaster situations from fires, floods, snowstorms and tornadoes to mention a few.

Helping farmers and ranchers protect livestock (Texas EDEN)