Updated: May 28
The fall/spring equinox is almost here and for those of us in the Northern hemisphere that signals that winter will be here soon. Winter brings a lot of challenges for you and your herd. Here are 7 ways to get ready for old man winter. 1.) Test feed supply for adequate protein and nutrients. The energy needs of your herd change during the winter. They grow a long coat, store fat as well as their mothering needs. Make sure they have adequate feed and salt is vital to their health this winter. 2.) Bedding or rotation If you're keeping your cattle confined this winter it's time to stock up on bedding but you can also do a daily pasture rotation. This gives them a new place to bed down each day away from the mud, manure and ice. Plan your winter grazing map now. 3.) Check your shelters Staying dry is key to staying warm. Create shelters from the wind and cold. The more your herd shivers the more calories they burn. The more stress they feel the less they will thrive. Now is a great time to look into this on your pastures. 4.) Water access Your herd will need extra water for the coat their growing, the extra feed they're digesting and healthy rumen activity. Often they won't want to leave their shelter to get a drink. So, it's vital that you make this easy for them during the winter. 5.) Get yourself ready to be out in the cold Winter brings a time of frozen buckets, cold, slippery and wet conditions. Get your equipment and ranch prepared for what you will need before you need it. 6.) Check in on your herd now Make sure your herd goes into the winter with a healthy BCS. Look for optimal body scores of 5-6. 7.) Stock up on feed. Feed requirements go up 10%-15% in the winter. Be prepared to feed your herd the nutrients to keep up their energy and keep them healthy this winter. Winter can be a tough time. Good preparation will make your winter a little easier this year. What else do you think is vital during this time?