If your fields, pastures or farmyards were recently flooded, you need to be aware of some possible associated health risks to livestock, according to Jim Paulson, University of Minnesota Extension educator in dairy.
Paulson offers the following safety tips for livestock producers:
- Make sure all animals have a source of clean, uncontaminated water. Animals on pasture may need a different source of water until ponds or creeks clean up.
- Check all sources of feeds and forages for spoiling and contamination. Flood waters can contaminate feeds, forages and fields. Watch for molds in the field and in stored feed and forages. Feeding of moldy feeds is risky and unhealthy for all animals.
- Standing water may have ruined some pastures or parts of pastures. This may have isolated animals and limited forage supply. Hungry animals may then eat contaminated or poisonous plants.
- Make sure all animals are up to date with vaccinations. Pastured animals may need to be boostered for Blackleg. High-risk, younger animals that were on flooded pastures may benefit from a therapeutic dose of penicillin. Consult with your veterinarian.
- Animals have been stressed. You may want to supplement additional feed or vitamins. Watch closely for signs of illness such as pneumonia and lameness. Make sure all animals all animals are accounted for and are eating.
- Consider having the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) check your manure storage for any evidence of weakening or leaking.
- Have your water tested if any part of your farmyard is flooded.
- Work with your nutritionist. Check feed inventories and plan ahead.