Winter livestock management

The winter season is just here and preparation for it is very crucial so that we prevent cases of loss and minimize cold stress. This meaning you will save money from sick animals. Then the question becomes how do I manage my livestock during winter and still have the best livestock production after the winter season. Well the following ways will shed light on that.

  •  Shelter:
    • Provide shelter in the form of wind breaks or make shelter belts; where you can plant shrubs or trees that will protect the livestock from wind. Alternatively you can create these windbreaks by building walls same as our traditional kraals and leave one side open.
    • Provide a bedding in this shelter so that they can also feed on. The bedding can be grass that you can cut from the grazing land or hay that you would have kept to feed for winter period
  •       Feeding:
    •       Winter season livestock needs a lot of roughage to increase their energy production and heat production, so you should be prepared to feed more.
    •      How much feed needed will depend on the body condition of the livestock, available pasture and crop residues.
    •      To increase the feed intake of the livestock you need to feed winterlick
    •     In winter livestock do not graze when temperatures are low and will wait until temperatures are warmer then they will graze. To increase their roughage intake to increase energy production just slightly feed them hay, grass or feed kept for winter use whilst they are still in the kraal (this will increase their roughage intake)
  •       Water supply:
    •      Winter season is also called drought season and water supply is mostly minimal
    •      Prepare water tanks or water storage that will be able to hold water for the period of winter
    •      Water supplied should be clean treated water with absence of microbes which can cause diseases
  •       Vaccination:
    •      The vaccines should be kept up to date for any kind of disease that can affect the livestock
    •      Control parasite populations so that they do not become a nuisance during the winter season. (deworm/dose livestock)