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Creature Comforts

Cold-weather planning for livestock starts long before the snow begins to fall. Initially, farmers and hobbyists must choose the best breeds for area conditions and then allow the animals to follow their instincts, like gathering together for warmth and gravitating toward sunny spots, windbreaks and shelters. There are also products that retailers can offer to make the winter months more comfortable for cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, horses and chickens. Check out these options:

High-protein and high-fiber feed: During cold conditions, animals not only need increased protein to supplement the extra calories they’ll burn, they also need feed that is higher in fiber (like hay) for the warming benefits brought on from digestion. (ADM is a good source of nutritional options for a variety of animals.) It’s also important to note that animals will not eat extra fiber unless they have access to water. In fact, they need more water in cold weather than in hot conditions.  

Strip Curtains: These vertical plastic curtains hang in doorways and make effective barriers to cold and wet weather while allowing animals to move in and out of buildings freely. They also allow vital ventilation that prevents the build-up of moisture, methane, ammonia and other air pollutants. Check out products from this strip curtain manufacturer and distributor.    

Shovels and Sand: Keeping paths outside barns, hog houses and hen coops clear for animals to traverse more easily is important during heavy snowfall, especially if animals need to travel to food and water supplies. When walking paths ice over, livestock caregivers will need to put down sand to prevent animal injury.

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