Hurricane Preparedness Before the Storm: Are Your Livestock Prepared?
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The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1. Here in southeastern North Carolina we have been affected by many tropical storms and hurricanes over the years, including Matthew and Florence, which caused major flooding in the area. There is much livestock owners can do to prepare for hurricane season. Before another storm strikes, livestock farmers should take several steps to be prepared. These steps include:
- Establish an emergency plan.
- Secure equipment – place large equipment in covered area or tie down.
- Clear debris from drainage ditches.
- Remove dead or damaged trees.
- Keep livestock barns, gates, and fencing in good repair.
- Prepare farm vehicles and machinery; gasoline and oil.
- Take farm inventory; livestock and equipment.
- Regularly review insurance polices.
- Secure animals – move to secure pastures or higher locations. Never leave livestock in closed barn.
- Make sure your animals are current on all vaccinations.
- Purchase additional feed, hay, and water supplies several days before a hurricane. These items might not be available after the storm.
- Stock up on basic veterinary supplies and have restraint equipment for restraining injured animals that need veterinary assistance.
- Livestock identification – permanent is best.
- Livestock emergency kits.
Do not put yourself at risk by checking on livestock during a storm, but do check on them immediately after the storm. Most animals are used to being outside in bad weather and will simply need clean feed, a dry place to stand, and water to help them recover from stress. However, you should be prepared for the worst. If animals are injured, be ready to render first aid. Most owners can deal with minor injuries. If animals are more severely injured call your veterinarian. Young animals are more susceptible to stress than older animals and may need more care.
With the right preparation you can protect your livestock from injury should a hurricane occur.