In sports, they say the best offense is a good defense or something along those lines. So let’s think of animal health care along the sporting lines. The more proactive you are about getting the help your animal needs, the better the results are likely to be. This time of year, love was in the air, so babies are making their debut. In the large animal world, quick reaction time is much better than a wait-and-see approach. Think of it this way, you waited all those long pregnancy months, it is cold now and you want to be inside by the fire. However, lambing season is upon you. When a sheep is in labor you need to watch carefully. Those 2 or 3 little adorable lambs can get tangled up hurrying into the cold, harsh world. That calf that drops in the cold pasture and doesn’t get up to eat right away is in danger of issues we can’t always correct depending on the severity. Being proactive as a producer, you get that calf up and help him get his first taste of warm milk. The first milk or colostrum is the best “medicine” any new hoof stock can have. Colostrum is essential for developing an immune system; and the secret is, the sooner the better on these newborns. Anything after 12 hours is not going to be readily absorbed into the blood to be utilized. Not letting mama sheep or goat labor so long means those tangled-up babes are bouncing around the pen in no time. Get in there and lend a hand if necessary for long term success.
In the winter months, life on the farm also requires a bit more work. Water can freeze leaving the animals limited water access. This can cause an array of issues on milk production, digestive health and electrolyte imbalances. Horses and cattle are large and therefore the amount of water then need to consume is significant. Keeping fresh water access will need: regular work filling buckets or heated water tanks. Also, watch that wind breaks and horse or mini blankets are used to keep the animals from getting chilled. Sweaters and kid pajamas can be used on goat kids and lambs. It you are feeding animals in extreme cold temperatures also understand that more feed is going to be required just for animals to maintain their regular body temperatures and functions.
There is nothing cuter than baby animals. Healthy, happy horses with cute winter fur coats are also pretty adorable. Therefore, protect your investment. Livestock can benefit from an able, helping hand from the people who care for them. When in doubt intervening early is the best.Sometimes that requires a call to the vet, but sometimes it just requires a little elbow grease from the producer. Keeping animals comfortable and warm is an essential part of their care and part of what you signed up for by owning them. Therefore, bundle up and head out to give your hooved, four-legged friends a little TLC.