An intense cold front is expected over the Western Cape, southern parts of the Northern Cape as well in the Eastern Cape, southern Free State and south-western KwaZulu Natal.
The public and small stock farmers are advised that very cold conditions, heavy rain and snowfalls can be expected in places.
Below are suggested strategies during cold/snowfall weather conditions:
When temperatures plunge below zero, livestock producers need to give extra attention to their animals. Prevention is the key to dealing with hypothermia, and other cold weather injuries in livestock.
Keeping livestock safe
- Please take the extra care to provide for your livestock during cold periods.
- Management of the livestock environment- move all livestock to the safe area. e.g. warm place,
- It is very important that livestock be provided extra hay/forage/feed to double the calories for normal body heat maintenance in extreme cold conditions.
- Do not shear the Angora goat. Also, take extra time to observe livestock, looking for early signs of disease and injury.
- Severe cold-weather injuries or death primarily occur in the very young or in animals that are already debilitated. Cases of cold weather-related sudden death in calves often result when livestock are suffering from undetected infection, particularly pneumonia. Sudden, unexplained livestock deaths and illnesses should be investigated quickly so that a cause can be identified and steps can be taken to protect remaining animals.
- Special attention should be paid to very young and old animals.Â They may be less able to tolerate temperature extremes and have weaker immune systems.
Protecting plants by:
- covering with paper or cloth over framework around tree or use mulching
- wrapping trunks of frost sensitive trees eg. citrus
- watering them during cold stages (drip irrigate/apply just a trickle at base of tree)
- increasing air circulation
More concerns and recommendations:
- Our animals probably do not have an adequate cold coat for protection in these very low temperatures.
- Hypothermia and dehydration are the two most probable life-threatening conditions for animals in cold weather, wet conditions and wind-chill add greatly to the cold-stress for animals.
- Livestock should be provided with windbreak and roof shelter, and monitored for signs of discomfort (extensive shivering, weakness, lethargy, etc.)
- It is critical that animals have access to drinking water. Usual water sources may freeze solid in low temperatures and dehydration becomes a life-threatening factor. ManyÂ animals, especially the young, may not know how or be unable to break several inches of ice to reach water. In general, animals tend to drink less in extreme cold, risking dehydration.
- Adding a warm sloppy bran mash, sloppy moistened beet pulp or soaking pelleted feed in warm water is a good way to add water to livestock.
- Select frost tolerant plants over frost prone areas.
- Place cold sensitive plants in protected locations – northern exposures, full sun or lock walls.
- Do not prune cold-damaged plants until they begin growing in spring.
Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson) was no match for hypothermia in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 masterpiece The Shining. Don’t let your animals go the same way! Warner Bros.