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Tips to keep livestock safe, warm during extreme cold

(Photo credit: FRANCOIS LO PRESTI/AFP/Getty Images)

ASHLAND COUNTY, Wisc. — Frigid temperatures are forecasted through next week, so a sheriff’s office in Wisconsin is sharing some tips for livestock owners to protect their animals in extreme cold.

“Animals can suffer from hypothermia, frostbite, and other cold weather injuries. Harsh conditions can also weaken their immune systems leaving them vulnerable to illness,” Dr. Yvonne Bellay, Department of Agriculture veterinarian, told the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office.

Livestock owners should focus on three key necessities: food, water and shelter.

Officials say outdoor animals need more food than usual, at good quality, to produce body heat during extreme cold.

Nutrition requirements reportedly increase about 1%t for every degree the temperature falls below 20° F.  Horses nutritional needs increase at temperatures below 45° F.

Owners should provide their livestock with fresh water daily.  Officials say that frozen streams and snow require the animal to use their body heat to melt the water.  It is recommended to either provide your animals water in a heated bowl or, if you do not have a heated bowl, to fill their water bowl with lukewarm water twice daily.

Large animals need a dry place to avoid wind.  Small animals require an enclosed to better retain body heat.  Officials say to keep animals dry and provide them with bedding to help insulate them from frostbite.  They also recommend that other buildings do not “deflect wind or snow” into the shelter you’ve provided for your animals.

You can learn more about protecting your animals and plants, here.

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