• By April W Bowman
  • Posted Friday, January 14, 2022

Cold Weather Tips for Livestock

If you are birthing any livestock right now, I am certain that you've at least considered the idea of putting a heat lamp over any newborns with these frigid temperatures. Proceed with caution and take into account these heat lamp tips
  • Use a quality, enclosed heat lamp
  • Use high-quality bulbs
  • Secure the bulb
  • Don't use bulbs over 250W
  • Secure the lamp to a panel 20" or more above the ground
  • Use an Arc Fault Interrupter breaker
  • Keep a fire extinguisher near the door
  • Install a loud smoke detector

Be certain that animals have plenty of dry bedding or nesting material. Learn more about nesting scores here.
Nesting score:

  • Score 1 - Most of the animals appear to lie on top of bedding with legs exposed.
  • Score 2 - Nestled slightly into bedding, part of legs visible above bedding.
  • Score 3 - Nestled deeply, legs not visible

Consider using a jacket as an alternative, especially if the ground is frozen. Typically a jacket adds a bedding nesting score. An old sweatshirt may work for calves, while the sleeve may work on lambs or kids. You may need to make a few tucks in it to make it fit appropriately. Learn more at https://extension.psu.edu/using-calf-jackets-to-avoid-heat-loss

Ensure that livestock has clean, unfrozen water accessible to them. Water is a critical nutrient for maintaining body heat.

Animals also need extra energy during cold weather. Learn more at https://wayne.osu.edu/news/winter-weather-and-livestock-nutrition.

For more information, email, April Bowman, Extension Agent, Livestock, Forages, and 4-H Youth Development at awbowman@ncsu.edu or call 336-703-2855.

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