How To Care for Cattle Throughout the Year

How To Care for Cattle Throughout the Year

Whether you are an aspiring, new, or experienced cattle farmer, ensuring your cows have the right environment to thrive throughout the year can be difficult. From the sizzling heat to the biting cold, here’s how to care for your cattle throughout the year to ensure they’re as healthy and comfortable as possible.

Year-Round Basics
When getting started, there are two primary aspects your farm needs to house cattle. The first is to ensure you have plenty of land for the pasture. This allows them to graze and live comfortably while also having the benefit of providing your cattle with feed during the autumn-winter gap. The second thing you need to have year-round is adequate shelter. Like us, the cattle need a place that will protect them from the elements no matter the season. This includes a water trough and a place for them to feed that is out of the sun when the heat is intense.

Beating the Heat
To get more specific with how to care for cattle throughout the year, let’s start with the summer. Your primary concern will be keeping your cattle cooled down to prevent heat stress. Cattles are incapable of effectively sweating to cool themselves down and thus naturally depend on respiration to cool themselves. This isn’t especially effective, and heat stress occurs when they experience more heat than they can get rid of. The resulting stress leads to lower milk production and higher rates of disease.
Leverage any shade available on your property and always ensure your cattle has enough cool water to drink throughout the day. When they’re in their shelter, ensure there is an effective airflow to keep the shelter cool and well ventilated.

Enduring the Cold
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you obviously need to keep your cattle warm during the winter months. Harsh winters may make it difficult for cattle to put on weight and maintain their normal milk production, compounded by the fact that, like the heat, the cold also puts stress on the cattle and thus further compromises their milk production. To help your cattle endure the cold, your shelter will be instrumental in keeping them comfortable and warm. Once they’re a bit more comfortable, it’ll be a bit easier to ensure your cattle are well fed and getting enough water. Cattle often struggle to get enough water when water sources freeze over; keeping cattle well-fed is how they keep warm during the winter as they consume more energy in the cold. One last tip is to avoid the mud as it becomes the perfect breeding ground for breeding foot-rot and thrush.

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