So you bought your first cow or herd of cows and you have already installed your fences, shelters and
irrigation areas. Congratulations! Now comes the challenge of taking care of them. The care of the cows
differs according to the cows that you own: dairy cows or cattle. Generally, dairy cows involve a lot more
responsibility and hard work than caring for cattle, since you have the additional obligation to milk
regularly. The most worrying thing about beef cows is whether they raise a calf or not and whether they
have enough to eat. Read the steps below to find out how you can take better care of your cows for
years to come.
1-KEEP CATTLE GOOD FEEDING
Is livestock cold? They do it if they are not fed well enough! This is why it is important to maximize the
delivery of food in cold weather. Without enough energy, they cannot generate enough body heat, their
core temperature drops and death could follow. There are many ways to keep your cattle fed and happy
in the winter. The simplest, but often the most expensive, option is to switch to a food with more
nutrients. These premium foods provide guaranteed nutrients, including fats and proteins, but can
affect your farm’s profits. Another way is to find ways to feed livestock while limiting waste. Avoid
sprinkling hay on the ground where up to 50% cannot be eaten.
Instead, place the hay in hay forage or similar shelter. Just make sure you have enough food so that all
of your cattle can feed at the same time without forcing an animal to wait for it to be used. Your best
option is the most profitable. Try to maintain some robust grassy fields where your cattle can graze all
winter, even if there is snow on the ground. Use rotary pastures at the start of the season to separate
one or two paddocks with your electric fence. Grow tall, nutritious grass that sticks out under the heavy
snow. With the right training on how to reach partially buried grass, your cattle will be happy to spend a
cool winter day on the trail.
2-ALWAYS HAVE AVAILABLE WATER
Cattle often have trouble getting enough water in the winter. Water sources may freeze or not
be reached due to snow, ice or mud. Veterinarians say cattle need 1 to 2 gallons of water per
100 pounds of weight each day. This makes water an important resource in all weathers,
whether in winter or not. An inexperienced pet owner can expect livestock to eat snow or lick
ice to reach their normal limit, but this is simply not the case.
It would take hours and redirect precious body heat, leaving little time or energy to feed and
grow. Because dehydrated cattle are at greater risk for colic and impaction, it is important to
maintain their water intake and keep them healthy. The simplest solution is to install tank
heaters in their water sources. In this case, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to
avoid shock or accidental fire. If you cannot use the heating, you can provide unfrozen water
several times a day and in several places. By ensuring a regular source of water, your livestock
will continue to thrive even when temperatures drop below freezing – a key sign of a happy
3-Check your cows regularly for signs of illness
Cattle are a little harder and less dependent on humans than dairy cows, so fewer checks can be done
with these girls. Many people who raise cattle do not control them daily or more than once a day, unless
they take turns grazing them. They often check them only once a week or every two weeks to give fresh
minerals or change pastures.
Feed them or feed them depending on the season.
Cattle should graze on pasture as long as pasture is available. If the pasture is no longer available or if
you do not have enough space to allow storage, you should limit it to a « sacrificial area » where you must
feed it regularly with hay, preferably with bales. Be sure to cut the threads or nets of the bales before
feeding them. Cattle should be fed according to their reproductive stage, their physiological needs and
their physical condition. When cows that have a milk-fed calf aside, they are breastfeeding, they need
high-quality hay and nutritional supplements if they lose too much condition with hay alone. Dry (nonsuckler) cattle that are in good condition are good for poor quality hay
Thin cows need good quality hay and possibly a feed supplement to gain weight during the winter, but
fat cows can lose weight with poor quality food. Choose rotary pastures when grazing to keep your
pastures healthy and more productive than leaving your entire pasture on pasture. Annual soil sampling
and regular harrows, if you don’t have chickens or beetles you can count on to spread dung, also help
keep your pastures and paddocks productive. Always make sure your cows have access to clean water
and loose minerals.
4-Keep up to date with vaccinations and deworming
license withdrawal throughout the year, as mentioned above for dairy cows. Some vaccines for your
cows may need to be administered only once a year, while deworming and license withdrawal may
require more applications per year. Ask your veterinarian which vaccines and deworming products are
best for your cows if you haven’t already.
5-Check the fences
Although you have built good solid fences, it does not hurt to check them from time to time to see if any
of your herds have tried to escape or if you have called had someone tell you that your cows are out. In
this case, it is very important to check your fences to see where they went out and to repair the
interruption they have committed.
6 – HELP PREGNANT CATTLE
Pregnant cattle should be watched carefully during the winter. Ask your veterinarian about some
vaccines they may need to stay healthy throughout the winter, including supplements and
deworming. Pay special attention to them, even in bad weather. They must be protected from
extreme temperatures and have easy access to food and water, regardless of the depth of the
snow. Remember that a healthy, well-nourished mother will pay big dividends later. In fact, it is
always useful to separate pregnant cows into pens for close monitoring. This way you can provide
them with good nutrition, water and protection. They also stay close as they approach their due
dates. You are therefore on site and well equipped to help with delivery.
7 – Take care of your livestock
It is important that you have enough facilities to unload the livestock when you bring it back to
your property. A series of farms or a small enclosure to keep livestock for the first few days is
essential. If you keep cattle in a small enclosure or on a series of farms for the first few days, you
can calm them down and calm them down. It can also help prevent the spread of weeds and
disease on your property. This first step is important for the biosecurity of your property.
8- Food and water requirements on arrival
The paddock or the stopping yard must have a water supply accessible to all animals. It would also
be a good place to put hay in your cattle and put it down after transport. When you finally
introduce your cattle into the largest enclosure, it is best to give hay at least the first 2 days so that
the rumen (stomach) has time to gradually adapt to the pasture.
9 – Cattle health assessment
While the cattle are kept on farms
small paddocks, take the opportunity to assess them (that is, before putting them on your
paddocks). The main things to look for are: injuries that could have occurred during transport,
lameness or irregular gait, make sure that all calves feed on their mother before letting them graze .