Hurricane season means potential for flooding and dangerous winds. "There are several measures that can be carried through in advance to minimize the threat of potential losses to a livestock operation,” says Jason Cleere, Texas AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist.
The following are some guidelines:
- Get animals to high ground. Livestock owners with large numbers of animals not capable of being evacuated by trailer should get animals to high ground. Open gates to pastures as cattle and other livestock instinctively seek higher ground. "Cattle can also be physically driven out of low-lying areas and to higher ground to avoid a flooded area,” Cleere says.
- Avoid putting animals in barns or other dwellings due to potential high winds. "Turn them out into large lots, pens or pasture,” he says. "They can seek cover on their own in brushy areas.”
- Make sure trailers ready for evacuation. Livestock owners who own small numbers of animals which can be evacuated by trailer should make sure tires are properly inflated and flooring is in good condition. "Don't overcrowd the trailer,” warns Cleere. "It's best to leave some behind rather than have one go down and get hurt.”
- Prior to leaving the ranch, pick up debris that might become a hazard in the event of high winds, he says. Strap down feeders, trailers and other items that might blow into a barn, home or other dwelling.
- Make sure there is adequate feed and water for a couple of weeks since forage may be under water.
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