Tips to keep livestock, horses safe during Montana's extreme cold

Posted at 5:01 PM, Dec 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 10:29:22-05

KALISPELL — Livestock and horse owners will need to keep an extra eye to make sure they make it through the cold as bitter cold temperatures settle in across Northwest Montana.

“You know horse or livestock that can’t move around very well definitely need to be inside,” Lasalle Equine Clinic Veterinarian Dr. Laura Johnston told MTN News.

Dr. Johnston said young and old livestock may need a little extra help during extremely cold temperatures to provide enough body heat to stay safe.

“Newborn calves, newborn goat kids, lambs, things like that, we definitely want to bring those indoors as soon as we can so, keeping a close eye on any animals that may be pregnant or may be due to give birth, bringing those kiddos inside,” Dr. Johnston said.

She noted an increase in food for outside animals helps them produce more heat during extreme cold.

“Whether it’s unlimited access to hay or increasing the rations of hay, a lot of people do round barrels for their cattle, but that really does help them to stay a bit warmer in the cold,” said Dr. Johnston.

She added water tank heaters are a must-have during extreme cold.

“At this point, it freezes so fast you would have to go out every 10 minutes or every 30 minutes to break up ice to allow them access to water so, the water heaters definitely come in handy as far as that goes,” said Dr. Johnston.

Dr. Johnston said it’s important to make sure horses and cattle that must stay outside are staying active and moving around.

“Moving around being active, just like with you or I. You know, we go and ski and we feel quite a bit warmer than just standing out here. Same thing for the horses and cattle,” Dr. Johnston explained.