This year, the first day of winter means business. Have you taken the necessary precautions to keep your cattle protected from Winter Storm Elliott?
Be sure to run down this checklist for winterizing your ranch in the next few hours:
- Have accessibility to water, wind breaks and extra feed. Ensure that cattle have ample hay – stock-up now if you haven’t already!
- Bedding for young calves, heat lamps if newborn.
- Bedding for bulls – scrotal frostbite can have detrimental effects on fertility.
- Update cattle inventory to reference when checking head. Consider moving herd closer to your base.
- Fill up diesel with anti-gel to prevent freezing.
- Check anti-freeze levels.
- Park equipment out of wind trajectory to avoid accumulation of ice.
- Leave all water sources at a drip. Have troughs filled just below float.
- Insulate exposed water pipes, wrap or bundle with straw.
- Gather extra loads of feed and supplements.
- Harsh weather can stress cows into an early calving period, so be prepared with the proper veterinary supplies.
- Consider post-storm needs: starter fluid, propane heater, tools to bust water, diesel treatment, fence repair equipment, replacement parts for pipes/valves if busted, stocked hay ready to feed.
- Prepare yourself for any amount of time outside with gloves, ear warmers, neck garters and bibs.
- Plan for loss of power: easy-to-make meals, back-up for water heaters, double check generators.
- Check with elderly neighbors and friends to make sure they have a plan, too.