The recent streak of cold weather and high winds in many areas of the northern United States has farmers taking extra steps to protect their cattle.
Larger animals are well equipped to handle the cold temperatures in short durations, but their survival rate can be greatly increased by ensuring their access to feed and water.
Rutgers Cooperative Extension agent Bob Mikel says cattle need adequate energy sources from feed. The second step is to make sure cattle have good access to water to fight off dehydration. This may require farmers to periodically check the ponds and creeks to ax a hole in the ice or break up ice formed at the top of other water sources.
According to the New Jersey Herald, Stephen Komar, department head at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension, says strong winds are worse for cattle than cold temperatures and livestock need a wind break more than anything. Wind breaks can be some type of shelter or a stack of hay, anything allowing cattle to get away from the wind when needed.
Smaller animals, including newborn calves, require extra attention. Mikel says calves should be kept warm and dry to keep them from suffering frostbitten ears or tails.