Help Your Livestock Adjust to the Changing Seasons
We're already deep into fall and winter is just around the corner. Those who own or manage livestock anticipate a new set of challenges with every change of season. At the top of the list is helping your livestock adjust to seasonal changes. Here are four areas that are highly influenced by seasonal changes:
Proper nutrition and adequate shelter should be provided before calves start hitting the ground. Preparing the mother for the intense work she is about to perform should be a priority. Her levels of protein and energy need a solid boost for one month to six weeks prior to giving birth and it should continue as she nurses her newborn. Cold weather and intense exposure to the elements can reduce the effectiveness of her nutrition, because she has to use up some of that energy to stay warm.
Supplementation is often necessary to overcome reduced nutritional quality of pasture as the seasons change. Grasses change their nutritional quality throughout their various stages of growth and the preferences of each species. A mix of cold weather and warm weather grasses that are able to grow together or having the capacity to rotate your livestock from one type to another can help, but vitamin, mineral and protein supplementation is a good way to help your livestock adjust to variations in pasture quality.
Cold Weather Nutritional Needs
Be prepared to increase the levels and quality of feed during the colder months and provide supplementation. Protein and carbohydrates for added warmth producing energy become of much greater importance as fewer daylight hours and cold weather sets in. It is beneficial to understand that your animals are going to eat close to 25% more when it is cold than they do during moderate seasons.
Proper drainage in areas your livestock frequent helps increase the safety of your animals. Areas adjacent to gates, sheds and water troughs are high risk areas for injuries related to both mud and ice. Be sure these areas are well drained and properly surfaced to prevent the buildup of ice during winter months and mud during thawing months.
The various challenges of the changing seasons are something that you should plan and prepare for in order to help your livestock adjust. Meet the various nutritional needs of your livestock brought on with the changing seasons by contacting your local store.
- Osborne's Agway Store Admin