Adverse Weather Preparedness for Livestock

— Written By and last updated by

Adverse weather events can occur during any season. As livestock owners, it is wise to have an Adverse Weather Plan in place before being caught in the storm. Below are a few recommendations to consider incorporating into your plans.

Establish an Emergency Plan

  • Farm location, farm size, and farm type
  • People and livestock – who lives on the farm and what type of livestock do you have.
  • Site map: buildings, livestock, water sources, access roads, hazards, etc.
  • Emergency contacts: local N.C. Cooperative Extension office, police and fire departments, veterinarians

General Housekeeping

  • Secure equipment: place large equipment in covered area or tie down
  • Clear debris from drainage ditches
  • Remove dead or damaged trees that may be potential risks to fencing and buildings
  • Keep livestock barns, gates, and fencing in good repair
  • Prepare farm vehicles and machinery: gasoline and oil
  • Stay connected with local emergency and management agencies

Taking Stock 

  • Take farm inventory – Livestock and equipment
  • Regularly review insurance policies

Livestock 

  • Secure animals – move to secure pastures or higher locations if flooding is a concern. Never leave livestock in a closed barn.
  • Partner with other farms – communicate with other farms for transportation or evacuation needs. Discuss potential biosecurity issues if co-mingling livestock is required.
  • Stock-up – provide sufficient food and water for 48 hours. Fill feed bunks and water troughs.
  • Secure alternate water sources – automatic waterers may not work during power outages. Dirty water can be a source of illness for livestock.
  • Livestock identification – permanent is best (tattoos or brands), but ear tags are better than no identification at all.
  • Collars or halters – break-away is ideal
  • Behavior – during disasters animals may be confused, aggressive, or frightened. Always approach livestock with caution and be patient.

Livestock Emergency Kits

  • Restraints and identification – ropes, lead lines, halters, tagging or branding supplies
  • Food and water – buckets and bins
  • First-aid medications and supplies

Remember, animal lives are important, but human safety is most important. Do not take unnecessary risks during or after a storm to check livestock.

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